Nacchio v. United States, No. 15-5114 (Fed. Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
From 1997-2001, Nacchio served as Qwest's CEO. Based on 2001 stock trades, Nacchio reported a net gain of $44,632,464.38 on his return and paid $17,974,832 in taxes. In 2007, Nacchio was convicted of 19 counts of insider trading, 15 U.S.C. 78j, 78ff. Following a remand, the court resentenced Nacchio to serve 70 months in prison, pay a 19 million dollar fine, and forfeit the net proceeds, $44,632,464.38. Nacchio settled a concurrent SEC action, agreeing to disgorge $44,632,464. Nacchio’s criminal forfeiture satisfied his disgorgement obligation. The Justice Department notified participants in private securities class action litigation or SEC civil litigation concerning Qwest stock that they were eligible to receive a remission from Nacchio’s forfeiture. Nacchio sought an income tax credit of $17,974,832 for taxes paid on his trading profits. The IRS argued that his forfeiture was a nondeductible penalty or fine and that he was estopped from seeking tax relief because of his conviction. The Claims Court held that Nacchio could deduct his forfeiture payment under Internal Revenue Code 165, but not under I.R.C. 162 and was not collaterally estopped from pursuing special relief under I.R.C. 1341. The Federal Circuit reversed as to section 165;Nacchio failed to establish that his forfeiture was not a “fine or similar penalty.” Because establishing deductibility under another section of the code is a prerequisite to pursuing relief under section 1341, Nacchio cannot pursue a deduction under that section.