Robert Smith, the black billionaire who announced he would pay off the debt of Morehouse College students a year ago, just admitted to an illegal scheme to conceal income and evade taxes by the use of offshore trusts and bank accounts for 15 years.
According to The Hill, the Justice Department announced on Thursday that Smith entered a non-prosecution agreement. He admitted to his involvement in the scheme and agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
The billionaire also agreed to pay back $139 million in taxes and penalties, and he agreed to release $182 million in charitable contribution deductions.
“It is never too late to do the right thing,” U.S. Attorney David Anderson said in a statement. “It is never too late to tell the truth. Smith committed serious crimes, but he also agreed to cooperate. Smith’s agreement to cooperate has put him on a path away from indictment.”
Smith, who lives in Austin, TX, admitted to using third parties to conceal his beneficial ownership and control of the Excelsior Trust in Belize and Flash Holdings, a shell company. He formed these entities specifically so he could use them to avoid paying taxes.
The CEO of Vista Equity Partners confessed to using the Excelsior Trust and Flash Holdings and their foreign accounts in the British Virgin Islands and Switzerland to hide income earned and distributed to Flash Holdings from private equity funds.
The alleged scheme allowed Smith to get away with not reporting over $200 million of partnership income.