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Jeremy H. Temkin

The Tax Division of the Department of Justice has long sought to maximize the impact of criminal prosecutions by focusing its limited resources on a small number of high-profile offenders in the hopes that publicity regarding such prosecutions will lead others to comply with their tax obligations. In United States v. Rice, 659 F.2d 524, 527 (1981), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recognized the validity of this approach, noting that “[t]he selection for prosecution based in part upon the potential deterrent effect on others serves a legitimate interest in promoting more general compliance with the tax laws. Since the government lacks the means to investigate every suspected violation of the tax laws, it makes good sense to prosecute those who will receive, or are likely to receive, the attention of the media.”

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