Dallas tax attorney helped clients hide $1B from IRS, prosecutors say

File Photo. IRS tax forms with tax refund check.

A Dallas tax attorney is accused of helping his clients hide more than $1 billion from the IRS.

Joseph Garza was arrested Tuesday.

Prosecutors said the 79-year-old used a tax fraud scheme that included creating multiple shell companies to funnel more than $200 million in unpaid taxes to his clients. 

The shell companies had no legitimate purpose other than to move money, prosecutors said.

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Garza allegedly took a cut of the profit for himself.

"This attorney allegedly hid more than a billion dollars of client income from the IRS, conning the U.S. Treasury out of roughly $200 million and lining his own pockets in the process," said U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham. "Our country functions best when every citizen pays his or her fair share. We will aggressively pursue anyone who subverts our tax laws."  

"IRS Criminal Investigation and the Department of Justice are working vigorously to stop abusive tax schemes like the ones created by Mr. Garza," said Christopher J. Altemus, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation Dallas Field Office. " Mr. Garza exploited his position as an attorney and purported tax expert to try and legitimize his illegal tax scheme. His arrest should serve as a warning that individuals who create elaborate schemes that have no purpose other than to defraud the IRS and shift the tax burden to honest American taxpayers will be prosecuted."

Garza faces more than 40 federal charges and up to 86 years in prison if convicted.