Kudos to Kenneth Ryskamp

Who is Kenneth Ryskamp? He’s a Senior Judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Judge Ryskamp was born in 1932, and has been a US District Court Judge since 1986 (and a Senior Judge since 2000). Why am I noting Judge Ryskamp? Because of a sentence he imposed on Thursday.

Mary Curran of Palm Beach, Florida inherited Swiss bank accounts from her husband. Those accounts had not been reported (and likely the interest not reported on tax returns). Her attorney, Roy Black, tried to get Mrs. Curran into the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) but her name had already been given to the IRS. She paid a large fine ($26 million); the Department of Justice brought criminal charges. She pleaded guilty to two false tax return charges. Judge Ryskamp wondered why:

Based on these facts, did it ever occur to the government to dismiss these charges. Instead, the government decided it had to make a felon out of this woman?

Judge Ryskamp gave Mrs. Curran one year of probation. Given Mrs. Curran could have faced six years at ClubFed, that sentence in itself was a huge win. But she got more good news a few moments later: The judge immediately revoked it! Her probation lasted all of five seconds. Judge Ryskamp noted:

This is really a tragic situation…It seems to me the government should have used a little more discretion.

The judge also suggested that Mrs. Curran request a presidential pardon, which he would endorse.

As Joe Kristan noted, the government goes after the accidental offenders with shotguns while slapping the wrists of some big-time offenders. Perhaps the IRS and DOJ will use some discretion in the future…but that’s probably asking too much.

News Coverage: Palm Beach Daily News, ABA Journal

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