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Industrialist Posner Pleads No Contest to Tax Evasion

September 29, 1987|Associated Press

MIAMI — In a surprise move, multimillionaire industrialist Victor Posner pleaded no contest today to 10 counts of tax evasion and false statements resulting from his overvaluation of the land he donated to a Bible college.

U.S. District Judge Eugene P. Spellman then adjudged him guilty of the charges, ending a bitter court fight that lasted more than five years.

The government alleged he evaded $1.2 million taxes by inflating the value of property he donated to Miami Christian College.

Posner, whose business empire includes Royal Crown Cola and Sharon Steel Corp., remains at liberty on a personal surety bond. In 1985, he was named the highest paid executive in the nation by Business Week magazine.

Posner, 69, appeared before Spellman this morning in a meeting listed as a status conference. After Posner's attorney, Washington lawyer Edward Bennett Williams, offered the plea of no contest, the judge reminded him of its meaning.

"You understand that if you enter this plea, it is a plea of guilty?" Spellman asked Posner.

Posner said, "Yes, I understand."

When a defendant enters a no-contest plea, it is not actually an admission of guilt. Rather, he is stating that he will offer no defense. The defendant is then subject to being judged guilty and punished as if he had pleaded guilty or had been convicted. However, he retains the option of denying the same charge in another legal proceeding.

Spellman set sentencing for Dec. 4.

Posner faces possible penalties ranging from probation to a maximum of 40 years in federal prison and fines of up to $75,000.

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