Federal Jury Imposes 150% Penalty Against 87 Year Old for Unreported Swiss Account

A federal jury has found that an 87 year old Florida man is liable for a civil penalty of 150% of the value of his Swiss bank account due to his failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Account (FBAR) as required by law. The jury found that the man was required to file a FBAR for each of 2004, 2005 and 2006, failed to do so and is liable for a penalty of 50% of the account balance for each year a FBAR was not filed.

 During the period of non-compliance, the foreign account balance ranged from $1.48 million – $1.55 million. The total penalty imposed by the jury was $2.24 million. Arguments are scheduled for June 6, 2014 regarding whether the penalties violate the constitutional prohibition against excessive fines.

 The case is U.S. v. Zwerner.

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