Here’s an interesting tactic for destroying billionaires: sue them for cheating. You can’t get that rich without stealing the money somehow, so if you find evidence of tax fraud, sic a bunch of ravening lawyers on them. Michael Saylor is finding that out.
Michael Saylor amassed a multibillion-dollar fortune, splurging to combine three Georgetown penthouses into a palatial 7,000-square-foot residence, snapping up a 154-foot yacht dubbed Mr. Terrible and throwing lavish soirees including one where he was draped with an albino python.
All the while, the tech titan did not pay income tax in the District for years and bragged about it to friends, anonymous whistleblowers allege. They said he told people they were “fools” if they did not buy a home in Florida as he did and claim to live there. The state has no income tax.
He’s rich. He flaunts it. He owns 5 yachts and multiple mansions. He doesn’t pay any taxes because he’s found loopholes, such as by buying a mansion in Florida (no income tax in Florida!) and then claiming that’s his primary residence. By enforcing tax laws, people can claw back a fraction of his ill-gotten wealth, at least.
The key to forcing a billionaire to cough up is to enable citizens to hunt him down and cut a bounty out of his hide.
All told, Racine alleges Saylor failed to pay at least $25 million in income taxes, but he could owe much more. D.C. law allows the city to collect triple the owed amount in damages, along with assorted interest, fees and penalties. Racine said in the interview he hopes to recover more than $100 million from Saylor. The whistleblowers would keep 15 to 25 percent if and when any money is recovered.
It’s all down to a new law in Washington DC.
These False Claims Act laws are modeled on a Civil War-era federal statute that has helped return billions to federal coffers, but the federal law bars action on tax fraud, and most states have followed that lead in their statutes.
D.C. switched that up with its new False Claims Act, which went into effect in 2021 and allows whistleblowers to pursue cases in which the alleged fraudster has income of more than $1 million and damages collected will exceed $350,000. At first it was little known outside wonky tax circles.
They’re going to have to work fast, though, because Saylor’s wealth is built on cryptocurrency, and has repeatedly vaporized. Crypto is currently facing its own reckoning, and Saylor lost $1.4 billion just recently. They might end up dragging a pauper into court.
That’s the real crime, not only tax dodging but making all of his money with this venal Ponzi scheme called bitcoin. That’s the greater crime, that crypto is a tool for scraping money out of gullible investors — and PENSION FUNDS???? Jesus. I would hope my pension isn’t being thrown away on something like that.
In October 2021, one of Quebec’s largest pension funds — the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Québec — invested $150 million into the crypto-lending company called the Celsius Network — which may now be facing bankruptcy.
That same month, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) announced its investment in FTX Trading Ltd, supplying at least $50 million into a meme-inspired fundraising round — raising $420.69 million from 69 investors. FTX hasn’t crashed like Celsius Network just yet, but the investment is putting teacher pensions in danger.
That quote is from July. FTX recently crashed, as expected. Sorry, Ontario teachers.