Baltimore attorney charged with tax evasion

A Baltimore criminal defense attorney has been charged in U.S. District Court with tax evasion and other financial crimes, according to records unsealed Tuesday, more than four months after his home and office were raided.

Stanley Needleman, 69, is accused of “hoarding” $1.3 million in cash payments from criminal defense clients over a six-year period in order to conceal his income from the IRS. Needleman was charged by criminal information on Aug. 16. It is common for prosecutors to charge a person by criminal information if they expect the defendant to plead guilty.

Needleman’s attorney, Kenneth W. Ravenell, said he has been a “great lawyer for a long time, and helped countless individuals in their own serious matters.” He said Needleman will “answer the charges on Thursday, and we expect to have more to say about the charges at that time.”

Federal agents raided Needleman’s downtown law office and Pikesville home in April, and court records show more than $1.15 million was found inside two safes.

Authorities also accuse him of breaking down cash payments into smaller amounts to help prevent the IRS from detecting them. The documents allege Needleman failed to pay more than $660,000 in taxes, and the government is seeking to seize the balance of the cash found in the safes.

According to court filings, all of the judges in Baltimore District Court have recused themselves from the case and it will be heard in Greenbelt.

Separately, Needleman was charged in May in Baltimore County District Court with stealing a textbook belonging to a judge’s law clerk. The theft case is scheduled to go to trial in October.

Ravenell said the theft charge was “without merit” and he expects Needleman to be exonerated.

If convicted on the tax evasion charge, Needleman could face up to five years in prison and a fine up to $100,000. The structuring payments charge could result in up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $500,000.

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