US: Tax evaders using Panama scholarship programs to avoid paying tax on oil revenue

Joyce Meads, a 73 year old woman from Texas, has now pleaded guilty of committing tax evasion of USD $250,000 by failing to acknowledge royalties of more than USD $1.3 million collected from oil wells. Meads ran her operation for 13 years while she was earning up to $100,000 per year in oil royalties and failed to declare the funds as her income.

Meads transferred her oil capital to a nominee company situated in Delaware and she organised for her royalty cheques to be sent to a post office box in Miami. The cheques were then received by a courier, sent to Panama and deposited into a nominee company account. Meads managed to repatriate the capital by simulating them as loans and scholarships to herself or direct transfers to bank accounts under different names, including her elderly mother. 20 years later since the beginning of the scheme, Meads is expected to be sentenced to 18 to 24 months in jail.

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