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October 14, 2011 7:19 PM

Thompson Hine Senior Antitrust Partner Charged with Tax Fraud

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

Leslie Jacobs, the senior partner in Thompson Hine's competition, antitrust, and white-collar crime practice group and a former president of the Ohio State Bar Association, was charged with tax fraud Thursday in federal court in Ohio.

The 66-year-old Jacobs allegedly underreported his income from the firm by more than $250,000 between 2004 and 2007, according to charges filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio. The government's case is being handled by assistant U.S. attorney John Siegel. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office did not respond to a request for comment.

(The Plain Dealer of Cleveland first reported news of the charges against Jacobs.)

Jacobs, a Harvard Law School graduate, told The Plain Dealer that he is cooperating with federal investigators and that the matter is "a terrible embarrassment and regrettable." Jacobs declined to comment when contacted by The Am Law Daily.

According to court filings [PDF], Jacobs filed four federal income tax returns between 2004 and 2007 that inflated his business expenses by as little as $25,000 and as much as $94,000 in an effort to lower the taxable income he collected from his Thompson Hine partnership. Prosecutors said Jacobs's income in each of those years should have ranged from $633,303 to $759,973.

(Thompson Hine, a 364-lawyer firm based in Cleveland, currently sits at number 141 on The Am Law 200. It had gross revenue of $184 million and profits per partner of $525,000 in 2010, according to the most recent Am Law figures.)

The federal charges state that Jacobs prepared the returns in question on behalf of himself and his wife, and without the assistance of a professional tax preparer. Jacobs is represented by Ulmer & Berne tax partner Frederick Widen.

In a statement on Jacobs's arrest, Thompson Hine distanced itself from the scandal. "The information that was filed was related to Mr. Jacobs's personal tax returns. It had nothing to do with his work at the firm. The firm was not involved in giving him advice or in preparing his personal tax returns, and we have no further information."

Jacobs focuses his practice on antitrust investigations and related civil and criminal litigation, as well as trade secrets, unfair competition, and business torts issues. He also represents Thompson Hine on the international practice committee of the U.S. Law Firm Group, of which he was once chairman. Jacobs was president of the Ohio State Bar from 1986 to 1987, according to the group's Web site.

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