Four months after pleading guilty to tax charges, former Herrick Feinstein partner Harold Levine in New York was sentenced Wednesday to 24 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme to defraud the IRS.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan handed down the sentence against Levine, who was indicted a year ago this month on wire fraud and tax evasion charges. Levine is being represented by Gerald Lefcourt and Sheryl Reich at Lefcourt’s criminal defense firm in New York. Lefcourt did not return a request for comment on the sentence against his client.
Herrick, where Levine worked from 2003 to 2012 and headed its tax practice, said in a statement that it had been deceived by its former partner.
“Harold Levine hid his clandestine tax evasion scheme from the firm and the government,” Herrick said. “He lied to his former partners, took extensive steps to conceal his actions and obstructed justice. Once the firm learned of the wrongful conduct, we promptly alerted and cooperated with the government and the grievance committee.”
After Levine left Herrick, he took over the tax group at Moritt Hock & Hamroff, another New York-based firm that has expanded this year through a series of mergers. (Earlier this year, Herrick broke off its own merger talks with Crowell & Moring.) It was at Moritt Hock where Levine’s legal troubles first arose in 2014 when he was sued by federal authorities seeking to block his promotion of allegedly abusive tax shelters.
At the time, Moritt Hock stood by Levine, but noted that the civil charges then pending against him stemmed from his time at Herrick. A Moritt Hock spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Levine’s sentencing. Moritt Hock and Herrick were both sued in New York state Supreme Court earlier this year by two former executives at The Related Cos., a prominent New York-based real estate development company, seeking compensation from tax liabilities they allegedly inherited as a result of Levine’s counsel.
“Harold Levine stole first from his law firm partners and then from American taxpayers by filing tax returns that left out millions of dollars in income,” said a statement Wednesday by Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in Manhattan. “Levine’s jail sentence should serve as a reminder that everyone—including tax lawyers—must be truthful in reporting their income, and deal honestly with the tax authorities.”
Ronald Katz, an accountant and co-defendant of Levine in the criminal case brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, reached his own plea deal in June. Katz, represented by Port Washington-based attorney James Froccaro, is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 13.