Racer Castroneves charged with tax crimes

Thu Oct 2, 2008 5:39pm EDT
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By Jim Loney

MIAMI (Reuters Life!) - Brazilian race car driver Helio Castroneves and his sister and lawyer were indicted on Thursday on charges of conspiring to defraud the United States of taxes on $5.55 million of income, prosecutors said.

The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and his sister, Katiucia Castroneves, were also charged with six counts of income tax evasion for the years 1999 through 2004.

Castroneves won fame outside the auto racing world last year when he beat out English pop singer Melanie Brown to win "Dancing with the Stars," a hit ABC television show in which celebrities compete in ballroom dancing contests.

Castroneves, 33, lives in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables. He and his sister are both Brazilian citizens.

"Whether you make a living parking cars or racing them, paying taxes is a responsibility that everyone shares," U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta told a news conference.

The indictment alleged the siblings and attorney Alan Miller used a Panamanian shell corporation to fraudulently conceal from the Internal Revenue Service income that Castroneves earned as a racer.

Miller, 71, was charged with conspiracy and three counts of tax evasion.

The indictment said Castroneves received $6 million over three years under a driving and licensing agreement with Penske Racing, but only reported $1 million on his tax returns.   Continued...

<p>Helio Castroneves of Team Penske stretches before getting into his car during the first practice run of the Edmonton Indy Grand Prix in Edmonton, July 24, 2008. REUTERS/Todd Korol</p>