A federal grand jury has indicted a high-profile entrepreneur and former trucking insurance leader for more than $7 million in tax evasion.
On Dec. 12, the Kansas City jury indicted Verna Cheryl Womack, 62, on one count of attempted interference of administrating internal revenue laws and nine counts of making a false statement to a government agency. The Mission Hills resident allegedly used numerous foreign trusts and Cayman Island bank accounts to conceal income, according to the U.S. Attorney office prosecuting her case.
Womack’s attorney, Nathan F. Garrett, had no comment on the charges.
The nationally recognized entrepreneur and philanthropist established several companies, beginning in 1981 with the National Association of Independent Truckers. She soon began additional companies to serve owner-operators, VCW, Inc., an insurance agency and Preferred Administrative Services, Inc., a third-party claims administrator.
In 2002, she sold the companies for more than $35 million and the following year, founded Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World. Her current business activity includes serving on the non-profit’s executive committee and heading the investment firm, VCW Holding Co.
Prosecutors says she began opening nominee accounts and trusts overseas in 1996, but repeatedly failed to report these interests, ultimately resulting in more than $7 million in lost taxes. As an example, they cite Lucy Limited, a company involved with the 2008 auction of her wine collection, which allegedly netted her nearly $900,000.
The next year, Womack was deposed by a federal trial attorney in a lawsuit that sought to enjoin a third party from providing tax advice. She testified Lucy Limited paid her to buy, manage and store the wine, but prosecutors say no such investors existed in this company she organized and controlled. Womack allegedly also lied to two FBI agents when questioned about her foreign business interests, they said.
U.S. tax law requires reporting of foreign financial accounts if the value exceeds $10,000 at any time in a calendar year. Since 2006, enforcement agencies have had limited ability to obtain financial records of U.S. citizens in illegal, foreign tax havens.
A 2010 law implemented heavy penalties for foreign financial institutions that fail to provide banking records of U.S. citizens.