Federal prosecutors charged Texas billionaire Robert Brockman on Thursday with a $2 billion tax fraud scheme over 20 years in the biggest tax fraud case against an individual in US history.

Robert Brockman, 79, is the chief executive officer of Ohio-based software company Reynolds and Reynolds Co.

Department of Justice officials and prosecutors said:

  • Robert Brockman hid capital gains income over 20 years through a web of offshore entities in Bermuda and Nevis and secret bank accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland.
  • Robert Brockman used encrypted emails with code names, including Permit, Snapper, Redfish and Steelhead, to carry out the fraud and ordered evidence to be manipulated or destroyed.
  • Robert Brockman also bought and sold debt securities in his own company, “breaking a promise to investors that he would not buy or sell his own company’s debt.”
  • The 39-count indictment unsealed Thursday charges Robert Brockman with tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering, and other offenses.
  • Robert F. Smith, founder and chairman of Vista Equity Partners, will cooperate in the investigation and pay $139 million to settle his own tax probe. Smith, 57, stunned a senior class last year when he promised to wipe out the student loan debt of the entire graduating class at Morehouse, a historically Black all-male college.
  • Robert Brockman appeared in federal court from Houston via Zoom Thursday. He entered a plea of not guilty to all counts and was released on $1 million bond.

“Complexity will not hide crime from law enforcement. Sophistication is not a defense to federal criminal charges,” said David L. Anderson, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California. “We will not hesitate to prosecute the smartest guys in the room.”

Who is Robert Brockman?

Brockman, a resident of Houston and Pitkin County, Colorado, is chairman and CEO of Reynolds and Reynolds, a 4,300-employee company near Dayton, Ohio, that sells accounting, sales and management software to auto dealerships. The software helps set up websites, including live chats with potential customers, find loans and calculate customer payments, manage payroll and pay bills.

Between 2008 and 2010, Brockman also allegedly fraudulently acquired around $67.8 million of his software company’s debt securities.

Reynolds and Reynolds said in a statement that the allegations against Brockman were outside his work with the company and that the company was not accused of any crimes.

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