During my first class of Accounting 101 in college, the initial instruction we were given was to always report your taxes. Doesn’t matter how you earned that revenue I was told, with the professor saying “if you are a criminal, than itemize your gains as $50,000 for kidnapping, $5000 for drug sales, and $20,000 for extortion. The IRS doesn’t care where you got the money from as long as you pay taxes.” Ok, so perhaps no criminal really wants to record exactly that they are transacting illegal business on a public form. But, the reality is that many a criminal have been done under by tax evasion, such as Al Capone and Heidi Fleiss.
Falling into the trap is Najam Mahmood, formerly of Monetary Investment Group (MIG). Toronto based Mahmood provided forex education seminars and solicited potential clients through his MIGForex.com website and via a radio series. While there is no record of how well his students did trading the market (you can find some up and down reviews on forex review sites), one institution that didn’t profit was the Canadian government.
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After failing to report of pay income taxes, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) announced that Ontario Superior Courts sentenced Mahmood to one year and jail and fined him $687,000. The conviction stems from Mahmood’s failure to report of pay taxes between 2003 and 2006, as well as failure to submit Goods and Services Taxes that he collected from students to tax collectors. In addition, the CRA found that in order to circumvent tax authorities, students were to send funds directly to a US based trading account that Mahmood held. Advertisements for the courses revolved around the tag line “Turn $10K onto $1 million in 5 years”, and according to The Star, attendees paid between $1000 to $50,000 for MIG courses.
The tax evasion wasn’t the first time Mahmood found himself in court. In 2008, he was charged in Ontario Superior Courts for copyright infringement. At that time, Joshua Spicer of Market Traders Institute alleged that Mahmood, a former student of his, had copied forex education material that was being used in the MIG courses.