Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

The founder of the Dickies Girl line of clothes for teens will serve two years behind bars after pleading guilty Wednesday to federal charges of hiding millions of dollars in Israeli banks to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Masud Sarshar, 51, of Malibu entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez to one count each of conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion.

According to the terms of his plea agreement, Sarshar, who launched the Dickies Girl line nearly two decades ago, will serve two years behind bars and pay more than $8.3 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

In addition, Sarshar agreed to a civil penalty in the amount of 50 percent of the high balance of his undeclared accounts to resolve his civil liability for not disclosing the existence of his Israeli bank accounts.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 13.

The Iranian-born Sarshar owned and operated Apparel Limited Inc., a business that designed, manufactured and sold clothing and other apparel.

He admitted in the plea document that he maintained several undeclared bank accounts at Bank Leumi and two other Israeli banks in order to hide more than $21 million from the IRS.

“Mr. Sarshar stashed millions in secret foreign financial accounts in Israel and then sought to use these accounts to evade his U.S. tax obligations, seeking to cover his tracks along the way,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo.

“The message of this case is clear: There are no safe havens,” she said. “If you are concealing assets and income in undeclared offshore accounts — or are a banker, an asset manager or otherwise are assisting accountholders in such criminal conduct, your only viable option is to come forward and accept responsibility for your actions. Those who continue to violate U.S. tax laws will be held accountable and pay a heavy price.”

Sarshar launched Apparel Limited in 1984 and began dyeing Dickies overalls in dozens of colors. He created the Dickies Girl line of pants, shorts, dresses and skirts in 2002, but gave up the license in 2014. The brand was then acquired by another local garment maker.

—City News Service

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