The Illegal Alien Who Owes $22 Million in Back Taxes
Immigrant Lee Ang is living the American dream, having become a successful stock trader in the U.S.A. and making millions since the 1990s. Unfortunately, he never became a legal citizen, and now the IRS is charging him with $22 million in back taxes. Yet the government still hasn't begun the deportation process.
Earlier this year a federal tax court ruled that Lee Ang had skipped out on paying taxes between 1998 and 2001 and now owes the $22 million in back taxes, interest, and fines.
Ang came to the U.S. in the 1990s through Belize, where he gained citizenship after emigrating there from Singapore, the land of his birth. He came here to go to school and attended New York University.
The immigrant initially followed our immigration laws, gaining a B-1 tourist visa, then having that transferred to an HB-1 visa and subsequently parlaying all that to a green card. However, after he graduated from college and began to succeed as a stock trader, he apparently decided that being a legal citizen would cost him too much in taxes and let his green card status lapse.
Even as his legal status passed, he didn't go back to Belize or Singapore. He stayed in the U.S., pursuing his stock trading, beginning from an $11,000 loan from his relatives in Singapore.
Even as he made millions, the government discovered he began hiding his assets under the names of other family members residing in the U.S. He also hid much of his income by pretending it was a repayment for the $11,000 loan given him by an uncle residing in Singapore. In fact, he tried to hide upwards of 93 percent of his income in that way. So Ang claimed that the millions he made weren't really his but belonged to his uncle and aunt.
Ultimately the judge did not believe that Ang would willingly exchange his millions of dollars in stock trades as payment for an $11,000 loan and decided that Ang was merely concealing his income.
"We are convinced that no economically rational actor dealing at arm's length would assign 93 percent of his substantial trading profits to another person... in exchange for the forgiveness of an $11,000 debt," authorities maintained.
"This fact is probative evidence that petitioner engaged in a scheme to conceal his assets from the IRS," the Tax Court said.
Ang may have helped undercut his own claims. At trial he said that he "chose to abandon his permanent resident alien application because of the negative tax consequences of becoming a permanent resident of the United States."
The case in question is Lee Ang v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, case number 2014-53, in the U.S. Tax Court.
Yet, with all this legal activity there is no indication that Lee Ang is under threat of deportation as an illegal breaking both our immigration and tax laws.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.