United States v. Baker, No. 16-1415 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Defendant divorced his wife in order to transfer assets fraudulently and avoid some tax liability. The district court set aside the separation agreement as a fraudulent transfer and proceeded to redivide and reallocate certain assets applying Massachusetts law. The government’s tax liens attached directly to any assets allocated to Defendant, but the government argued that its tax liens also attached indirectly to certain assets allocated to Defendant’s wife. This appeal concerned the district court’s allocation of two assets that the district court divided more or less evenly. The First Circuit vacated in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) with regard to funds that were directly traceable to the tax shelter that Defendant used to reduce his taxable income for several years, it was not clear whether the district court considered fourteen factors required by Massachusetts law in order to arrive at an equitable division of the parties’ assets; and (2) the government was not entitled to Defendant’s wife’s half of the proceeds from the sale of property owned by Defendant and his wife in Massachusetts on a lien-tracing theory. Remanded.