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Pleasanton Attorney Pleads Guilty of Making False Statement to IRS

William A. Hirst pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Internal Revenue Service. False deeds were discovered during an estate tax audit.

From the United States Attorney Melinda Haag Northern District of California Department of Justice:

William A. Hirst, a Pleasanton attorney, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of making a false statement to the Internal Revenue Service, United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Marcus Williams announced.

According to the plea agreement, in February 2004, Hirst assisted a client in estate tax planning.  Hirst prepared 11 deeds gifting fractional interests in eleven parcels of his client’s real properties to his client’s daughter. On Feb. 12, 2004, Hirst also acted as the notary public for the client’s signature on all 11 deeds. Eight of the deeds were recorded with the county recorder in March 2004. 

The remaining three deeds were lost or destroyed after having been signed by the client. The client died on Feb. 27, 2004, and the estate’s accountant filed the estate’s federal estate tax return with the IRS on Feb. 2, 2005. That return did not list the daughter’s interests that were conveyed by the three lost or destroyed deeds.

Hirst re-drafted the three missing deeds and signed the client’s name. They were recorded on April 4, 2005. During an IRS estate tax return audit, Hirst was served a summons to produce his notary log reflecting the execution of the 11 deeds and was later questioned by IRS estate tax attorneys about the deeds, including the three deeds recorded on April 4, 2005. Hirst told the IRS he found the three lost deeds in a file and recorded them, which was false since Hirst knew he signed the client’s signature to the three deeds recorded on April 4, 2005. 

Hirst, 72, was charged on Dec. 6, 2012, with four counts of making false statements. 

Hirst is scheduled to appear before United States District Court Judge Samuel Conti, on April 19, 2013, for sentencing. The maximum statutory penalty for making a false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 is five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. 

However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

David Countryman and Thomas Moore are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting this case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Weechee Warrick December 30, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Sounds like the old guy tried to correct a mistake.
YOSEMITE SAM December 30, 2012 at 11:52 AM
WOW WITH ALL THE PARASITES IN THIS COUNTRY LIVING OFF OF THE FAT OF THE LAND(TAXPAYERS) IRS HAS THE BALLS TO CRUCIFY THIS POOR PERSON.. SENATORS AND CONGREEMAN CAUGHT DO NOT GET SUCH A SEVERE PENALTY. ORGANIZED CRIME AT ITS FINEST......... SHAME ON YOU ALL........
William Bischoff December 30, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Yep, No good deed goes unpunished. Don't ever try to help anyone else, because you will end up ''paying for it'' in the end. All he seems to have done, is ''re create'' what was initially done by his client in the first place, to accomplish what his client WANTED TO BE DONE.
Stephen Gianelli December 31, 2012 at 03:14 AM
There is one minor detail the two prior commenters overlooked: Lying to a federal agent or agency is a felony, punishable by up to 5-years in prison. (Not to mention the fact that the defendant is an attorney.) Nor do I buy that the motive was misguided altruism. He clearly screwed up, and was trying to fix his own malpractice by FORGING his (now dead) client's name on three deeds, then recording them, then preparing false estate tax returns, then lying to the IRS to cover up all of the above. It would have been far easier to simply admit that he screwed up, lost and never filed three of the deeds, and accepted the financial consequences of his mistake. Now an attorney since 1965 with a clean record with the State Bar is most certainly going to be suspended for a very long time if not disbarred. Then he will pay a substantial fine and go to jail. Not because he is a bad guy, not because he did a good deed, but because he broke the law.
Weechee Warrick January 01, 2013 at 11:13 PM
The people who beat their chests the hardest usually end making their own mistakes. Cheers Stephen, and happy new year.
YOSEMITE SAM January 02, 2013 at 11:36 AM
stupid is what stupid does..............

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