Morehouse Benefactor Robert Smith at Center of Federal Tax Evasion Probe and Students Just Won't Socially Distance on Campus

Robert Smith Part of Large Scale Federal Tax Evasion Investigation

Billionaire money manager and philanthropist Robert Smith is a target in a multi-year federal investigation into possible tax evasion on more than $200 million in earnings, according to Al-Jazeera.

Smith, who has not been charged with any crimes and made headlines last year with his pledge to pay off the student loan debt of Morehouse College’s entire graduating class, is alleged to have harbored funds in off-shore accounts and corporate structures as part of a larger network of corporate bodies funded in part by Houston businessman Robert Brockman.

From Al-Jazeera:

Smith is trying to persuade the Justice Department to forgo criminal charges and resolve his case with a civil settlement, according to three of the people. A conviction could send him to prison and force him out of Vista Equity Partners, a money management firm with $65 billion in assets that has brought him fame and a luxe lifestyle.

Part of his defense rests on a reported pledge by the private equity fund to direct proceeds to charity. If prosecutors determine that the proceeds were designated for charity all along, it could bolster the argument that Smith was never the beneficial owner and not liable for taxes.

According to the report, the Morehouse gift was part of more than $300 million Smith has given to charitable causes over the past five years, a period during which his personal wealth grew to more than $6 billion.

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