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Entries in William H. Millard (1)

Tuesday
Sep132011

Tech Mogul Traveled the World, a Step Ahead of Taxman

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New court documents provide revealing details about the peripatetic life of William H. Millard, founder of California technology retail chain ComputerLand, who left the U.S. two decades ago for exotic locales while amassing tens of millions in back taxes.

Mallard, 79, was recently found by private investigators in the Cayman Islands, touching off a flurry of court filings in an attempt to collect his back taxes. Once named one of America's wealthiest businessmen by Forbes, the tech mogul was worth an estimated $480 million in 1985.

Millard faces an outstanding tax bill of more than $59 million in Saipan, where he settled to pursue business opportunities before moving on to such places as Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland, and, finally, Grand Cayman Island.

The tax fugitive's retail company once conducted an all-time high of $1.4 billion of business in 1984, according to a Forbes magazine article dated that year. He resigned as chairman of ComputerLand after a series of entanglements with investors in 1986, The New York Times reported.

After the sale of his retail chain in 1987 for nearly $250 million, Millard relocated with his family to Saipan, according to a commonwealth filing in federal courts in the U.S.

Authorities in Saipan allege that thanks to an elaborate network of shell companies, bank accounts, family-owned entities and trusts in Florida, California, Canada and the Cayman Islands, Millard stowed his assets and traveled the world at will.

"This is one of the most sophisticated and complicated cases of offshore asset structuring that we have ever seen," Michael Kim, a prosecutor representing Saipan's case, told The Wall Street Journal.

Although commonwealth officials were able to trace Millard's movements in Singapore, Ireland, Brussels, Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands, authorities were never able to pinpoint his exact whereabouts. Millard also relinquished his U.S. passport and acquired Irish citizenship, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But eventually Millard's love of globetrotting caught up with him.

In 2010 Saipan hired law firm Kobre & Kim and private investigators to track down Millard, who was found in Orlando, Fla., during the Christmas season while visiting his children.

Millard was later followed by investigators to the airport, where he departed on a flight to the Cayman Islands and was unknowingly trailed by investigators to his home.

Michael Kim, a prosecutor representing Saipan, and James R. Stump, assistant attorney general of the Northern Mariana Islands, did not return requests seeking comment.

No court date for the case against Millard has been set.

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