319 F.2d 404 (5th Cir. 1963), 19544, Mann v. United States

Docket Nº:19544.
Citation:319 F.2d 404
Party Name:Nathan MANN, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Case Date:June 25, 1963
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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319 F.2d 404 (5th Cir. 1963)

Nathan MANN, Appellant,

v.

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

No. 19544.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

June 25, 1963

Rehearing Denied Oct. 10, 1963.

Page 405

John J. Pichinson, Corpus Christi, Tex. (Luther E. Jones, Jr., Corpus Christi, Tex., on the brief), for appellant.

William L. Bowers, Jr., Asst. U.S. Atty., Woodrow Seals, U.S. Atty., Houston, Tex., for appellee.

Before HUTCHESON, WISDOM and GEWIN, Circuit Judges.

GEWIN, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a judgment of conviction entered upon a jury verdict finding appellant, Nathan Mann, M.D., guilty of wilfully attempting to defeat or evade payment of income taxes owed by him and his wife for the years 1954, 1955 and 1956, in violation of 26 U.S.C.A. § 7201. 1 Dr. Mann was indicted on three counts, each involving one of the years in question. He contends that the evidence against him was insufficient to sustain the conviction, and that the instructions on wilfulness in the oral charge of the trial judge were fundamentally erroneous. Doctor Mann resided in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he conducted a general medical practice treating patients both in and out of his office.

The Government contends that for each year in question the unreported taxable income of Dr. Mann was reflected in two ways. First, there were amounts of unreported

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income reflected by his bank deposits; and second, that unreported income was reflected by bond purchases made by Dr. Mann with money not taken from his bank account. While admitting the existence of the unreported taxable income as reflected by his bank deposits, Dr. Mann denies that he wilfully omitted income from his return, and contends that such omission was due to the inefficiency and negligence of his accountant.

As to the money used for buying the bonds, Dr. Mann claims, and this is corroborated by his wife, that the money came from cash gifts chiefly 2 from his father, and therefore, his omission of this money was not wilful evasion since these claimed gifts were not taxable. The jury did not accept his explanation, but found him guilty as charged. As to Dr. Mann's first contention, we hold that there was sufficient evidence of his guilt to support the jury's verdict, and the refusal to grant the motion for acquittal was not error.

Doctor Mann's bookkeeping system consisted of the maintenance of three separate books of entry including a 'Daily Log' in which cash payments on account and the charges to patients' accounts were recorded; a 'Journal' kept as a single entry book, to which were posted from the Daily Log receipts from patients, deposits to the bank account and checks drawn thereon; and a subsidiary ledger also showing charges to patients' accounts and their payments made against these charges, these figures also being taken directly from the Daily Log.

The Daily Log, according to Otto Kuehn, the accountant who did Dr. Mann's tax work, was the core of the doctor's accounting system. The failure to note a transaction or collection in the Daily Log would inevitably lead to its not being reported in Dr. Mann's income tax. There was testimony that Dr. Mann usually made the collections and reported them to the bookkeeper for posting in the Daily Log; and in many instances he posted the collections himself.

Certain exhibits introduced by the Government show that Dr. Mann made up the bank deposits, put them in the bank himself and the secretary posted the totals from the deposit slips as a credit to the Journal 'Cash' account and a debit to the Journal 'Bank' account. The 'Fee' column from the Journal and data on rent, dividends and interest, separately supplied by Dr. Mann himself, were the sources of information from which Accountant Kuehn prepared the tax returns. The accountant, having no knowledge of the substance of the transactions reflected in the Daily Log as posted to the Journal, depended entirely upon information supplied by Dr. Mann or his office.

A special agent of the Internal Revenue Service began investigating Dr. Mann's accounts on February 25, 1958. The agent obtained the Journals, Daily Log, some other materials and familiarized himself with the internal procedures of Dr. Mann's medical office. This agent contacted thirty-five of Dr. Mann's patients of which six or eight furnished him with a reasonably complete record of their cash payments to Dr. Mann. In all cases the amount that the patient had actually paid was higher than the amount shown to have been paid, and recorded on the Daily Log. Then the agent analyzed Dr. Mann's bank deposits and came to the conclusion that his income tax returns did not reflect his true income.

A recent case by this court dealing with the sufficiency of the evidence to establish wilfulness in income tax cases is Windisch v. United States, 5 Cir., 1961, 295 F.2d 531. Windisch contended that tax evasion cannot be established merely by showing that the taxpayer failed to include items of income in his return. The Court said in affirming:

'The principle is correctly stated, but these cases are distinguishable from the instant case. Unlike Pechenik (United States v. Pechenik, 3 Cir., 236 F.2d 844), for example,

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Windisch omitted specific items of income earned, the accountant was not engaged to make an audit, and the accountant relied upon Windisch to supply the necessary tax information as to income as well as to expenditures. The appellant can point, as defendants have done in similar cases, to the lack of certain badges of fraud. That is not enough. The question of wilfulness is for the jury. Considering the record as a whole, the evidence which was direct as well as circumstantial, supports the verdict and the judgment of the district court.'

As in Windisch, the evidence in this case was sufficient to make out a case for the jury and the jury decided the question of wilfulness.

The Government introduced evidence both direct and circumstantial to show that the bonds in question were purchased by money received from Dr. Mann's patients. The evidence was clear that Dr. Mann purchased more than $15,000.00 worth of bonds during the years in question. However, when he was questioned about the bonds by Internal Revenue Agent Moore, he could only remember purchasing two $500.00 Series 'E' Savings Bonds during the years in question. It was Dr. Mann's contention that he bought the bonds from money received as a gift from his father. At the trial, the Gift Tax Returns filed by Samuel Mann, Dr. Mann's father, were introduced into evidence. They showed gifts to Oscar Mann, Dr. Mann's brother, but none to Dr. Mann himself. The bank employee from whom the bonds were purchased testified that Dr. Mann purchased the bonds with crumpled currency taken from his pockets, and with checks from third persons which he endorsed. While this evidence may not be conclusive proof of wilfulness, it was sufficient to present a jury question as to whether or not the bonds were purchased with cash gifts or unreported taxable income.

A far more complex problem is raised by Dr. Mann's second contention, which relates to the following portion of the Court's oral charge:

'It is reasonable to infer that a person ordinarily intends the natural and probable consequences of acts knowingly done or knowingly omitted. So unless the contrary appears from the evidence, the jury may draw the inference that the accused intended all the consequences which one standing in like circumstances and possessing like knowledge should reasonably have expected to result from any act knowingly done or knowingly omitted by the accused.'

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