Houston Lawyer Takes Own Life on Eve of Tax-Fraud Trial Connected to America’s Richest Black Man, Robert Smith

A Houston-based tax lawyer reportedly took his own life while facing court charges involving a $225 million corruption scandal from the United States Internal Revenue Services connected to Robert Smith, America’s richest Black man.

Carlos Kepke, 83, was accused of aiding Smith in hiding the wealth from the IRS.

In a courtroom in San Francisco, it was announced that the lawyer had died mysteriously. It was confirmed earlier today that Kepke shot himself in the head and died. As a result, according to the NewsBreak citing Bloomberg News, the criminal case was dismissed without a trial.

Smith, the founder of Vista Equity Partners, was scheduled to testify in federal court against his former lawyer.

Accusations to Kepke

According to Daily News, Kepke was charged with aiding Smith in hiding $225 million in overseas bank accounts and offshore corporations from the IRS. Kepke was accused of participating in a scheme to defraud the United States and filing a materially fraudulent tax return.

While Smith agreed to a U.S. non-prosecution agreement, Kepke entered a not-guilty plea. He disclosed his past behavior and consented to pay the Justice Department $139 million in taxes and fines.

In court documents submitted in October, Kepke’s attorneys claimed that their client had a long history of heart disease and heart failure, having undergone two heart attacks and various treatments linked to the heart. The trial for Kepke was supposed to begin on Monday.

Deaths surrounding the scandal

It is the second instance in which the demise of a defendant has permitted Smith to avoid testifying in a criminal case involving his company or associates, reports said. 

Before his criminal trial, which would have been the largest tax evasion case the United States has ever seen, former Smith associate and 81-year-old Robert Brockman passed away in August. The late CEO of the software company Reynolds & Reynolds was charged with trying to hide $2 billion over many years.