Las Vegas Review-Journal
May 26, 2009
Robert Kahre, who owns numerous construction businesses in Las Vegas, is standing trial on 57 counts of income tax evasion, tax fraud and criminal conspiracy. If convicted on most counts, he could live out his life in prison.
But attorney William Cohan paints Kahre as an American “hero” who believes his payroll system helped keep the U.S. monetary system sound, and was also a form of legal tax avoidance.
A self-made entrepreneur, Kahre, 48, paid his workers in gold and silver coin, and said they could go by the coins’ face value — rather than the much higher market value of their precious metal content — for federal tax purposes. He did not withhold taxes from their wages, and he provided the same payroll system to 35 outside clients, which were other local businesses.
Judge David Ezra is presiding over the criminal trial, which began May 19 in U.S. District Court. Joining Kahre as defendants are his longtime girlfriend, a sister who works in his businesses, and a former business assistant.
Three of the four present defendants were among the nine people tried on similar charges two years ago, but no convictions resulted. In the 2007 trial, four others of the nine defendants, including Kahre’s mother, were entirely acquitted. Two individuals were only partially acquitted, but dropped from the indictment that forms the basis for the trial before Ezra.