Billionaire Robert Brockman was indicted last year on the "biggest U.S. tax-evasion case ever against an individual". Now, prosecutors are looking to seize his assets, including a $15 million fishing lodge in Colorado and $77.9 million in a Swiss bank account, according to Bloomberg.
The 80 year old Brockman is being accused of failing to report $2 billion in income and using a foreign company to buy secondary debt in his own software firm at a deep discount. The government says that assets tied to the debt fraud can be forfeited, which includes the fishing lodge on the Frying Pan River. It's the government's first attempt at taking his property since he was indicted last October.
The 143 acres were used by Brockman as he "spent parts of his summers fly fishing for rainbow and brown trout". He built the property to avoid the 30 minute drive from Aspen to the Frying Pan River.
"If you’re a fisherman, it’s just a wonderful place to live,” John Gierach, the author of “Sex, Death, and Fly-Fishing” told Bloomberg, calling the area “one of Colorado’s best trout streams."
Now, the burden is on the government to show the land was "the product of tainted funds", Bloomberg reports. Internal Revenue Service special agent Ted Lair said in a court filing that Brockman laundered illicit proceeds through funds managed by Vista Equity Partners.
That firm is run by Robert Smith, who already agreed to a deal with prosecutors to help deliver Brockman in exchange for avoiding prosecution for his own tax evasion crimes. He's also paying $139 million in back taxes. Lair noted that Smith was "unaware" of the debt fraud being perpetrated by Brockman.
Swiss prosecutors have frozen more than $1 billion held in bank accounts belonging to Brockman.
Brockman has pleaded not guilty and denies wrong doing. His lawyers have claimed he has dementia and can't aid in his defense. Prosecutors, meanwhile, think he "may be faking the illness", bringing to the court's attention that Brockman worked at his software company up to and through the date of his indictment.
A judge is set to rule on the asset seizure, review expert testimony from medical experts and determine where and when Brockman should stand trial, later this year.