Recently, Damien Reynolds proved how easy it is for high-net-worth individuals who evade taxes to also evade jail time. Despite evading an estimated $4 million, he will not spend any time in jail.
Instead of serving a jail sentence, a Supreme Court in British Columbia sentenced Reynolds conditionally to two years minus one day, served in the community. The sentence includes 200 hours of service to the community, as well as a nightly curfew. He must also keep the peace and maintain good behavior. The judge found that jail time was not necessary for Reynolds, since he poses no danger to the public.
Reynolds has also been fined $121,179. However, he is currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings. As such, he has up to 12 months to pay the fine.
The Tax Evasion
The tax evasion in question is Reynolds’ attempt at defrauding the Canadian government over $4 million in taxes, according to prosecutors. The jury found Reynolds guilty of evasion last October. That specific finding regarded his failure to report $609,000 income for 2004 and 2005, and not submitting $121,000 in GST. It also included “attempting to defraud” the Canadian government of over $5,000 by claiming fake losses on his tax returns.
However, the Crown did not agree with these figures, claiming that the fraud was much greater than this. The Crown accused Reynolds of significantly inflating businesses losses in 2007 and 2008, lowering his tax payments by millions. This vast discrepancy in figures was overlooked by the judge to some extent. The evidence did not show how much was involved in the potential fraud, just that it was over $5,000.
Not Reynolds’ First Tax-Related Scandal
The most recent prosecution against Reynolds for tax evasion is far from his first brush with tax-related scandals. He was named in the 2016 Panama Papers, regarding ownership of a company incorporated in Niue, a Pacific Island territory.
More about Reynolds
To help argue the case, Reynolds’ lawyer pointed out his “tumultuous” childhood. This included living in a low-cost hotel, and his father attempting to murder his mother. He currently lives with his second wife, Emma, in Vancouver, in a rented apartment. Reynolds is also known for his stock promotion, being the CEO of a fast-growing company. The main cast of “The Real Housewives of Vancouver” included his ex-wife.
Reynolds’ defense team brought numerous letters from friends, associates, romantic partners, business partners and others. These described him as loyal, selfless, well-respected, thoughtful, committed, honest, dependable, creative, kind, courteous, and other favorable terms. The Crown countered that the honesty and integrity these letters claimed were not visible in Reynolds’ attempts to evade taxes.
During sentencing, the judge described Reynolds as someone who focused on making deals, while leaving details to accountants and lawyers. Even so, the judge said that Reynolds still had a high moral culpability for the tax evasion. The sentencing did not include any jail time, however, because the judge found that Reynolds was unlikely to reoffend.
The Larger Context
Damien Reynolds appears to be yet another wealthy individual able to evade taxes and get off with a slap on the wrist. Despite the avoidance of more than $4 million in taxes, the wording of the case only specifies that it is over $5,000. His only financial restitution owed is a $121,179 fine.
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