The Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Justice and the District of Columbia have announced the arrest and indictment of Walter Anderson, 51, a telecommunications entrepreneur. According to the indictment, Anderson obstructed the IRS and defrauded the District of Columbia by failing to pay well in excess of $200 million in taxes. Anderson was involved in starting up long-distance telecommunications businesses at a time when the industry was just being deregulated. The grand jury charged that in 1992, as Anderson realized that the merger of his first successful company -- Mid-Atlantic Telecom -- with another company would result in substantial taxable earnings, he formed an offshore corporation in the British Virgin Islands to receive and disguise his anticipated income. The company that he formed, Gold & Appel Transfer, was allegedly owned by another BVI company, with a trust company serving as registered agent and sole director. Anderson granted himself an exclusive option to purchase Gold & Appel shares for a nominal sum. Neither the option nor Anderson's name was recorded in public records, while Anderson was able to maintain complete control. Between 1992 and 1996, Anderson further obscured his ownership of Gold & Appel by using an alias and forming another offshore corporation in Panama and a mailbox drop in Amsterdam. During this period, Anderson transferred ownership in three telecommunications companies to his offshore companies so that when appreciated stock was sold, he would not appear to be the taxpayer. The indictment alleges that over a five-year period, Anderson personally earned nearly a half billion dollars through investments in business ventures that he conducted through offshore corporations. If convicted of the charges, Anderson faces up to 80 years in prison. "Average Americans deserve to feel confident that when they pay their taxes, neighbors and competitors are doing the same," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "The IRS holds all Americans, including the most wealthy, to the same standards of honesty."

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