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Conspiracy Plea May Get Watchung Man 5 Years

52-year-old did not disclose offshore accounts, authorities say.

A Watchung man could face up to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to conspiracy charges for concealing assets in undeclared bank accounts.

Sanjay Sethi, 52, did not disclose foreign accounts he held in Switzerland and India to the U.S. Treasury, as is required for accounts with more than $10,000, according to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. SethiĀ entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in court in Newark.

Sethi agreed to pay a $2.4 million penalty, in addition to all taxes owed, for failing to disclose his foreign accounts. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 18 and, in addition to the prison sentence, could be forced to pay up to $250,000 in fines.

According to a press release sent by Fishman, Sethi worked with bankers from the U.S., United Kingdom and Switzerland to conceal assets from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). He also filed fraudulent tax returns to the IRS to conceal assets, Fishman said.

Fishman said that between 2001 and 2009, Sethi opened bank accounts in India and Switzerland and transferred millions of dollars to offshore accounts. He also used shell companies in the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands to conceal ownership of his assets, the release said. The loss to the IRS totaled between $80,000 and $200,000, according to Fishman.

"Our criminal laws do not tolerate those who use foreign accounts to conceal their assets," Fishman said. "Cheating the government out of tax dollars hurts all honest taxpayers."

Special agents with the IRS-Criminal Investigation Unit assisted with the case.

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