I graduated high school at 16 and earned my BA in business administration with an emphasis in finance at 20. By 22, I’d earned my J.D. and LL.M. in international taxation, and two years later, I was admitted to the bar. My practice was steadily growing, and I was proud to be gaining a reputation as a successful tax attorney.
I never imagined I’d have to battle with the IRS and the justice system myself, though I’ve now done both.
From 1999 (when I was 20 years old) to 2000, I accompanied my father, whom I believed to be a legitimate businessman, on several business trips to Europe. I didn’t think anything of it, as he often took one of my brothers or me on his business trips. During these trips, he sometimes requested that I translate documents or draft correspondence for him, given my knowledge of German, in which I am fluent.
Unbeknownst to me, my father used these documents to perpetuate a multimillion-dollar fraud. I began to develop suspicions when my father’s colleagues began being questioned by the authorities, but I continued to accompany him on trips and to translate and draft documents out of fear – perceived disloyalty to my father was met with harsh consequences.
I didn’t gain a full understanding of his crimes until I was indicted in 2003 (at 25 years old) and given boxes of discovery to read. I wasn’t the target of the investigation, my dad was. But the government tried to use me as leverage, telling my dad they would indict me based on my minimal involvement unless he agreed to a plea deal.
“Never compromise your values”
He turned them down and told me I was on my own.
I was indicted for mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to money launder, along with my father and two of his colleagues.
Terrified and stunned, I worried that everything I had worked for was for naught. I never intended to do anything wrong, but the government didn’t care.
Fearing prison, in 2005, I made a deal with the government. It’s a decision I now regret, as I wish I’d fought more aggressively to defend myself, knowing I was innocent. But that experience taught me exactly how terrifying it can be to come into the crosshairs of the U.S. government – something I never want my clients to have to face.
I was eventually sentenced to 5 years of probation and suspended from the practice of law (I was later disbarred, despite the Office of Disciplinary counsel recommending the lowest sanction, a 2-year retroactive suspension).
Immediately, my focus shifted to building an international tax and wealth planning advisory business that incorporated my unique life experience - which has made me passionately committed to helping protect my clients from governmental overreach.
Then, in 2013, the government struck again. The IRS opened an investigation, falsely accusing me of practicing law before the IRS.
In response, I went on the offensive and sued them in federal district court. I sought a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment – and won. This was a major victory, and to the best of my knowledge, I am the only person that has a permanent injunction against the IRS.
The victory was so decisive that the IRS had to pay my attorney’s fees—something only awarded when you prove the government had no justifiable position.
These experiences taught me a few lessons that have changed me to my core.
First, never compromise your values.
Second, the government is not your friend.
Third, be prepared: always protect yourself and your assets.
This has enabled me to develop a unique skillset and approach towards international tax and wealth planning.
The lessons I learned help me craft solutions to achieve my clients’ goals while minimizing risks that other advisors typically miss, because they’ve never been in the trenches.
It’s my mission - my calling - to incorporate my knowledge and unique experience to help my clients avoid blind spots and dangerous pitfalls, and simultaneously achieve exceptional results. I’d be proud to work with you and help you protect your family and your assets.
Jimmy Sexton, LL.M.
Founder & CEO