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.