Software entrepreneur Robert Brockman has died of dementia at the age of 81 while fighting a tax case.
A billionaire tech entrepreneur has died of dementia at the age of 81 while battling a $2 billion tax evasion claim – the largest claim ever by US prosecutors against a single person.
His attorney, Kathy Keneally, said Robert Brockman died Friday night while receiving hospice care.
The Houston-based businessman’s death came amid a $2 billion tax fraud lawsuit that plaintiffs have brought against Brockman.
Brockman’s lawyers insisted that his mental illness – which they said was exacerbated by Alzheimer’s disease – made him unfit to appear in court. But a judge ruled he was eligible to face the charges in May this year.
Brockman was born in Florida of modest upbringing with a gas station owner’s father and a physical therapist mother, according to Bloomberg, but he died with a fortune of about $4.7 billion.
He made his fortune teaching himself programming and eventually developed software that would allow car dealers to run businesses more efficiently.
The 81-year-old left behind his 53-year-old wife Dorothy and son Robert II; As well as his brother David, who is the wife of his son and two grandchildren.
Brockman was indicted in 2020 on 39 counts, including electronic fraud, tax evasion and money laundering that the US Department of Justice said totaled $2 billion to conceal his income and defraud his company’s investors, Reynolds and Reynolds.
Robert Brockman, a software entrepreneur who made a fortune before he was indicted in the largest single tax evasion case in US history, has died. He was 81 years old
The 81-year-old left behind his wife of 53 years, Dorothy (pictured right) and son Robert II; As well as his brother David, who is the wife of his son and two grandchildren
In court filings in April, Brockman’s defense said he contracted COVID in December, which led to him being hospitalized with toxic metabolic encephalopathy (TME), a severe brain disorder. They claimed that COVID and TME exacerbated his dementia. However, a judge ruled it competent in May
However, Brockman’s lawyers argued that the billionaire was ineligible to appear in court, claiming in filings in April that Parkinson’s disease caused dementia, which worsened after he contracted COVID in December.
In the affidavits, lawyers said Brockman was hospitalized in January with toxic metabolic encephalopathy (TME), a severe brain dysfunction that can be caused by COVID, claiming that “for patients already suffering from dementia, COVID-19 and TME can lead to Exacerbating existing dementia and accelerating cognitive decline.
The lawyers added: “During a February 15, 2022 examination by Dr. James Ball, Mr. Brockmann’s primary care physician, a neuropsychological test was performed to assess Mr. Brockman’s current cognitive state. Dr. Ball concluded that Mr. Brockmann’s condition had progressed to severe dementia.
Lawyers also noted that follow-up testing supported the conclusion that Brockmann was less mentally competent than he had been when the software tycoon conducted his last evaluation in October.
George Hanks, the judge presiding over the case, had previously heard the arguments about Brockman’s dementia claims in November, but he has not yet decided on the case.
Brockmann accuses him of the case Hiding $2 billion in income from the IRS over two decades using a network of offshore companies in Bermuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The indictment alleges that Brockman appointed candidates to manage external entities for him as a means of concealing his involvement, saying he went so far as to set up a private encrypted email system and use code words such as ‘Permit’, ‘Red Fish’ and ‘Snapper’ to communicate.
Prosecutors allege that Brockman’s sprawling network of offshore trusts has grown into the Cayman Islands, Singapore, the British Virgin Islands and the Isle of Man.
Authorities have been investigating Brockman over allegations of tax fraud for several years and prosecutors claim he discovered the investigation as early as 2016.
Prosecutors allege that Brockman began seeking medical evaluations of his mental health shortly after his lawyer’s home in Bermuda was raided in 2018, according to court documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
A doctor discovered in March 2019 that Brockmann had poor short-term recall. However, prosecutors claim that Brockman’s doctors have a conflict of interest because they work with Baylor College of Medicine, to which the billionaire has donated millions of dollars over the years.
They also argue that Brockman continued to head his software company during this time despite his alleged mental decline. Court documents revealed that he underwent a cognitive test late last year and had difficulties drawing a clock, with a doctor ruling he had “mild dementia”.
The case involving Brockman (left) accuses him of hiding $2 billion in income from the IRS over two decades using a network of offshore companies in Bermuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The Justice Department has identified the sprawling network of offshore accounts Brockman controlled that allegedly allowed him to withhold $2 billion in taxes.
The software mogul lives in his $8 million mansion (pictured) in Houston, Texas. He also owns a 143-acre estate in Colorado and a fishing inn on the Frying Pan River.
Besides his possessions, Brockman owns a 209-foot yacht called the “Turmoil” (pictured)
Prosecutors said he also owns a Bombardier Global 6000 private jet worth about $62 million.
The $62 million plane usually features spacious and luxurious room for its wealthy flyers
FBillionaire Robert Smith, the CEO of a private equity firm that helped with the alleged schemes, was cooperating with the investigation after turning against Brockman to avoid prosecution himself.
Smith, the richest black person in America with a net worth of about $7 billion, was also ordered to pay $139 million in back taxes and fines.
Brockman and Smith had a working relationship dating back to the late 1990s, according to documents filed in connection with Smith’s non-prosecution agreement.
It is believed that the majority of his fortune is kept in a trust in Bermuda that owns most of his software company. Court documents show that the trust has at least $7 billion in assets.
Although this fortune would likely see him number 50 on the Forbes 400 list of billionaires, Brockman never appeared on the list because without including his alleged hidden money, Forbes ranked him at 601 with $4.7 billion.
Fellow billionaire Robert Smith, the CEO of the private equity firm that helped with the alleged schemes, is cooperating with the investigation after the coup against Brockman to avoid prosecution himself.
Prosecutors said he owns a Houston mansion valued at about $8 million, a ski cabin in Aspen and Colorado, a Bombardier private jet and a 209-foot yacht.
According to court files obtained by Bloomberg last year, the government was attempting to confiscate 143 acres of Colorado real estate and fishing on the Frying Pan River and a pool of cash in the Swiss bank Mirabod linked to the fraud case.
However, prosecutors believe that Brockman (above) – was faking his mental decline to avoid court appearances
The outlet reported that US prosecutors first requested the seizure of Mirabaud’s account in October 2020 and that Swiss prosecutors froze more than $1 billion in bank accounts owned by Brockmann.
The 42-page indictment against Brockman identifies two Colorado properties that are of interest in the case.
According to the indictment, Brockman paid $15 million to purchase Mountain Queen property located in Pitkin County on May 17, 2005.
Later, he spent another $15 million of money allegedly obtained through debt fraud at ‘Frying Pan Canyon Ranch’ in Pitkin County on December 16, 2010, according to the indictment.
Brockman allegedly spent another $8.2 million on renovations and improvements to the Frying Pan Canyon property in 2014.
It was not immediately clear whether the asset seizure reported by Bloomberg also included Mountain Queen’s property or his Houston mansion.
As the case against Brockman continues, his former colleagues and employees have painted a picture of him as a billionaire pressuring a penny who believes the IRS is unfairly prosecuting taxpayers.
Brockman, notorious for being a feud, would stay in budget hotels and eat frozen dinners on business trips.
He would buy used furniture for his offices and forbid his employees to smoke so that the company could save on health insurance.
At the time of filing the indictment, Reynolds and Reynolds issued a statement saying that the allegations were outside of Brockman’s work with the company and that the company was not allegedly involved in any wrongdoing.
The software helps set up websites, including direct conversations with potential clients, find loans and calculate customer payments, manage payroll and pay bills.