December 07 2004 at 04:50AM
San Francisco - A United States federal judge has sentenced an author who wrote a series of books about avoiding taxes in off-shore locations to six months in prison on Monday.
Jerome Schneider, 53, wrote five books and hundreds of articles on how US citizens can establish private banks in small countries to avoid paying taxes.
The author of "The Complete Guide to Offshore Money Havens" and "Hiding Your Money", Schneider pleaded guilty in February on a charge of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.
US tax authorities say such off-shore banks are shams, and some experts believe the technique could be hiding billions of dollars of profits from the US government each year.
Judge Susan Illston said not sentencing Schneider, a Canadian resident, to jail time would send the wrong signal.
Schneider has agreed to co-operate with authorities in a probe of off-shore tax evasion, including among his former clients.