Billionaire Facing Record $2 Billion Tax Case Says Covid Worsened His Dementia

Dave Rossman/Houston Chronicle via AP
Dave Rossman/Houston Chronicle via AP

Attorneys for the billionaire Robert Brockman claimed in a court filing on Wednesday that his dementia has materially deteriorated in recent months, and they again argued that the software tycoon is incompetent to stand trial in a record-breaking $2 billion tax evasion case.

Brockman, 80, has Parkinson’s disease, which his lawyers cited as a probable source of his dementia. His mental state grew worse, the filing said, after he contracted the coronavirus in December and was subsequently hospitalized in part with toxic metabolic encephalopathy, a “condition of acute global cognitive dysfunction” associated with COVID-19 “among older patients with preexisting dementia.”

The judge presiding over the case, George C. Hanks, previously heard arguments in November about Brockman’s competency but has yet to rule on the matter.

The billionaire was indicted in 2020 on 39 counts, including wire fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering, over allegations that he participated in “a scheme to conceal approximately $2 billion in income from the IRS as well as a scheme to defraud investors” in his software company, the Department of Justice said at the time.

The indictment claimed that Brockman utilized a labyrinth of offshore entities in Bermuda and Nevis and sent “untaxed capital gains income to secret bank accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland.”

Brockman is entangled in a separate legal battle with the IRS. Last month, his attorneys complained in court filings about the agency’s tactics, including emptying one of his wife’s bank accounts, automatically sequestering his retirement pay, and placing liens on his properties.

In Wednesday’s filing in the criminal case, Brockman’s lawyers said his primary care physician had determined in February that his “condition had progressed to severe dementia.”

They said he was also examined by another doctor who found that his mental state had “deteriorated significantly.” Brockman did not recognize the doctor even though he had previously evaluated him, the filing said.

The attorneys argued that a neutral party should examine Brockman if the court does not determine him to be incompetent. His fate now lies with the judge.

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