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Ex-Attorney Is Sentenced to 15 Months for Income Tax Evasion

July 31, 2002|JEAN GUCCIONE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A former personal injury attorney has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for income tax evasion.

Derrick Anthony Hoo, 56, of Mission Hills, pleaded guilty to failing to report $281,000 in income between 1993 and 1997.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Alka Sagar said Hoo tried to conceal his taxable income by paying his mortgage, car loan and other personal expenses out of 13 client trust accounts he maintained at six banks. He declared no taxable income in 1993, she said.

U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow, in imposing the sentence Monday, ordered Hoo to surrender to prison officials on Sept. 16.

Hoo, who prosecutors said practiced law in Los Angeles and San Francisco, has a previous felony conviction, was twice disciplined by the State Bar of California in recent years and resigned from the bar in 1999 with additional disciplinary charges pending.

He is one of about 60 people convicted in federal court since 1997 as part of an ongoing Internal Revenue Service investigation into income tax fraud by attorneys, doctors and others involved in filing personal injury claims, Sagar said.

In 1999, Hoo pleaded no contest to two counts of forgery in L.A. County Superior Court and was sentenced to five years of probation, according to Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

A graduate of the UCLA School of Law, Hoo was admitted to the bar in 1974. He was suspended from law practice for six months in 1995, and then placed on three years of probation a year later.

In that case, Hoo was disciplined by the bar for failing to maintain adequate money in his client trust account to pay two clients their share of a lawsuit settlement.

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