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Billionaire pleads guilty to filing false tax return

December 14, 2007|From the Associated Press

A billionaire accused of stashing a fortune in foreign bank accounts pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return and has paid more than $52 million in back taxes, penalties and interest, the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.

Igor Olenicoff entered the plea Wednesday in federal court, according to the IRS.

He could face as many as three years in prison but is likely to serve less than six months when he is sentenced in April, said his attorney, Edward M. Robbins Jr.

"I'm pleased with the outcome," Olenicoff said after the hearing. "I'm not happy about it."

Olenicoff is a developer whose Newport Beach company, Olen Properties, owns more than 10,000 apartments and 33 residential communities, mainly in Las Vegas and Florida. It also owns 65 commercial and industrial properties in Orange County.

He was charged with filing a 2002 tax statement denying he had offshore accounts.

From 1998 to 2004, he actually had $346 million in foreign banks, mainly in the Bahamas, according to his plea agreement.

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