Robert Brockman, the multi-billionaire investor indicted in the largest ever tax fraud in U.S. history died late Friday. He was 81.
Brockman was accused in 2020 "of evading $2 billion in taxes over a 20-year period through wire fraud, evidence tampering, and money laundering, among other criminal acts," Distractify when the charged were filed.
According to Bloomberg, the Republican megadonor was suspected of tapping into "untaxed proceeds from offshore entities to buy a Colorado fishing lodge, a private jet and a 200-foot yacht. The Internal Revenue Service's investigator, James Lee, remarked that he had "not seen this pattern of greed or concealment and cover-up in my 25-plus years as a special agent."
A Florida native, Brockman started his career selling computing services to automobile dealers on behalf of IBM. In 1970, he founded a company that helped revolutionize the auto dealer industry, "that helped car dealers run virtually every aspect of their operations," according to Bloomberg.
That company, Reynolds & Reynolds, became a massive business worth some $5 billion.
Brockman also helped spawn the career of Robert F. Smith, the wealthiest Black American citizen. He provided the initial investment in his private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners. The U.S. alleged that Brockman used a nexus of offshore entities and burner phones to hide $2 billion in income.
Smith finally admitted committing tax fraud but avoided prosecution by turning state's witness against Brockman.
"The case against Brockman hinged on whether billions of dollars in an offshore charitable trust were secretly controlled by him, as prosecutors alleged, or were independently managed, as he claimed," Bloomberg reported. "Prosecutors said he used untaxed proceeds from offshore entities to buy a Colorado fishing lodge, a private jet and a 200-foot yacht, which his lawyers denied."
At the time of his death, Brockman's lawyers maintained that he was suffering from dementia. In May, a judge ruled that he was competent for trial.