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BigLaw Partner Falsified Docs to IRS

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on October 19, 2018 11:21 AM

Attorney Adam Wiensch meant well, but did it wrong.

Wiensch was trying to help clients transfer wealth to their children free of estate and gift taxes, which is possible in estate planning. But he crossed the line when he falsified documents and sent them to the Internal Revenue Service.

He should have known the IRS has estate tax attorneys, too. It cost Wiensch his job, his reputation, and his license -- for now.

Two-Year Suspension

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has suspended Wiensch for two years. It was not a hard decision because Wiensch admitted his wrongdoing and stipulated to the discipline.

"In the stipulation, Attorney Wiensch states that he has no defense to any of the disciplinary violations," the court said. He was charged with 13 counts of misconduct.

However, Wiensch told the court that he was suffering from clinical depression and alcoholism at the time. His job probably had something to do with it.

He was a partner at Foley & Lardner, where he had been named as one of the top lawyers for wealthy people by Worth magazine. But when firm leaders discovered his cover-up, they fired him and reported him to the IRS.

Cover-Up Reported

Foley & Lardner also referred the matter to ethics regulators. It turned out Wiensch had deceived the IRS and his firm for several years.

Meanwhile, things didn't work out so well for the clients either. According to reports, the IRS wants $152 million in taxes and penalties from the family.

Foley & Lardner, which is based in Milwaukee, is one of the largest firms in the United States. No criminal charges have been filed in the case.

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