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Estimated reading time: 1 minute, 43 seconds

Two Guilty in Easement Scheme

A federal jury has convicted Jack Fisher, a CPA, and James Sinnott, an attorney, for their rolesin peddling syndicated conservation easements, which resulted in $1.3 billion in tax deductions. The government also wants to seize properties that the two Georgians own, including Fisher’s $2-million home on the Caribbean Island of Bonaire.

Fisher, Sinnott, and other conspirators received more than $41 million in payments that were backdated or late for false and inflated tax deductions in a scheme that stretched over two decades.

The two designed syndicated conservation easement tax shelters that promised tax deductions 4.5 times what their clients paid for units in SCE Tax Shelters. They enlisted several CPAs to sell the units and prepare documents. Two of these, brothers Stein and Corey Agee, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in December 2020.

Those funds were used to buy land and property holding companies and then donate the land or a conservation easement over the land – often within days or weeks of purchase. Fisher and Sinnott used appraisals of conservation easements and land donations at valuations of up to 10 times what they paid for the properties.

Fisher and Sinnott were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns and subscribing to false tax returns. Fisher was also convicted of money laundering.

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
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