Former Arnold & Porter partner Peter Cinquegrani, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax-evasion charges in September 2008, was sentenced Monday to three years probation in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Cinquegrani told Judge Sidney Stein during the proceeding that “I knew what I did was wrong and I did it anyway.” He cited a need to be “a big shot” tax lawyer and apologized. In giving Cinquegrani only probation, the judge cited his cooperation with the government, which included explaining the PICO shelter to investigators.
In the scheme, Cinquegrani and employees from Ernst & Young combined forces from 1998 to 2001 to sell bogus PICO tax shelters for wealthy clients along with a legal opinion that supported its legality. According to prosecutors, Cinquegrani charged as much as $100,000 per letter. The Associated Press reports Ernst & Young sold 96 PICO transactions to 150 wealthy individuals. Four Ernst & Young employees were convicted for their roles in the scheme and another former employee also pleaded guilty in the case.
Cinquegrani had two stints at Arnold & Porter. First, from 1986 through 1993 then again from 1997 through April 2007, at which time he made partner in 2002.
According to the AP, Arnold & Porter participated in the sale of three of those shelters and paid an unspecified civil penalty for its failure to comply with tax-shelter registration requirements