LOS ANGELES — Hunter Biden, the president’s son, was indicted Thursday in Los Angeles on several federal tax charges, marking the start of a second criminal case that will proceed during his father’s reelection campaign.
Biden, who resides in Malibu, was accused of failing to pay his taxes on time from 2016 to 2019, filing false and fraudulent tax returns in 2018, and tax evasion, according to the 56-page indictment.
The charges in the nine-count indictment span a period when Biden was addicted to alcohol and crack cocaine, which he documented in graphic detail in a memoir that dwells on the death of his brother, Beau, along with the grief and depression that consumed him and his family.
Biden has since become sober, paid his taxes, along with penalties and interest, and his lawyers are expected to point to his well-publicized addiction to explain his chaotic financial affairs.
But prosecutors contend that he “willfully” failed to file and pay his taxes on time, and that rather than pay the IRS, he plunked down cash for a bacchanalia across L.A. featuring “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature.”
Further, prosecutors allege that when preparing tax returns in 2020, in the early months of his sobriety, Biden misclassified a litany of personal expenses from 2018 as business expenses to reduce his tax burden. Those expenses include tuition for his daughter and a Venmo payment to an exotic dancer, according to the indictment.
If convicted of all charges — six misdemeanors and three felonies — Biden would face a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison, although federal guidelines would call for a far lower sentence.
The case was unsealed on the eve of President Joe Biden’s arrival in Southern California for his first in-person fundraising trip here since Hollywood strikes put a pause on campaign events.
The charges come months after Hunter Biden was set to enter a plea deal for tax and firearms violations. The deal would have avoided time behind bars and included immunity from additional federal charges, but it collapsed under questioning by a federal judge in Delaware. Shortly after, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware, as special counsel.
Weiss has since brought a fresh indictment in Delaware against Biden for the firearms violations, accusing him of lying about his drug use in 2018 when purchasing a gun that he briefly owned. Biden has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which are rarely filed as a standalone case.
©2023 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.