Financial History Issue 121 (Spring 2017) - Page 21

so. (It was established later that Anderson received treatment for alcoholism some 10 times in his life, which was likely a factor.) When Eisenhower left office in 1961, Anderson chose to pursue private invest- ment and banking interests in New York. Yet, during the 1960s, he also carried out diplomatic missions for his old friend, then President Johnson. One of these mis- sions related to working on new treaties for the Panama Canal. From 1964 to 1973, he was a special ambassador to Panama. In the 1980s, for a man with a long, dis- tinguished career of service to the United States, Anderson’s undertakings seemed to meander into unfamiliar territory. Among other things, he became an eco- nomic adviser to the Sultan of Oman and a lobbyist and consultant for the contro- versial Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his Church of Unification. From 1983 to 1985, from offices in New York, he became the primary agent and representative of the Commercial Exchange Bank and Trust of Anguilla in the British West Indies. In 1983, Anderson came under inves- tigation by federal authorities for a plot to sell arms to Iran. He was not charged, though he may have played a role. By March 1987, Anderson’s question- able activities caught up with him, and the 77-year-old former Secretary of the Trea- sury was indicted in New York and pled guilty to charges of income tax fraud for 1983 and 1984 and illegally operating an unregistered off-shore bank. In the years that he was charged with tax fraud, he had used his Anguilla bank to hide $79,000 in income he received as a consultant and lobbyist from the Church of Unification, as well as income from other sources. Disparagingly, the United States attor- ney in Manhattan, Rudolph Giuliani, said there was “no excuse” for someone of Anderson’s background and experience to have engaged in such criminal activity. He further charged that Anderson had carried out “a pattern of criminality” and that the government would seek prison time for In court, Anderson, who appeared frail, told the judge that his troubles had begun with his alcoholism. Also, his wife of 52 years had died in 1987 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s that took its toll on him. He told the judge that he regretted what he had done. Convicted of tax evasion for 1983 and 1984 and operating an unregistered bank, Judge Edmund Palmieri gave Anderson a light sentence in consideration of his pre- vious service to his country — one month in jail, five months’ house arrest and five years’ probation. Disgraced, he died of complications of cancer surgery in New York in 1989 at the age of 79.  Ron Hunka, a freelance writer who lives in Austin, Texas, has written articles for Financial History about notorious frauds, mainly in Texas. Elsewhere, he has published stories about the history of inte resting castles and monasteries visited in countries including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Cover of Time magazine featuring Robert B. Anderson, November 23, 1959. Sources Lubasch, Arnold H. “Ex-Treasury Chief Admits Tax Fraud and Banking Crime.” The New York Times. March 27, 1987. Naylor, R.T. Wages of Crime. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 2004. him. Part of that pattern was reflected in Anderson’s advertising of his bank as a “tax-free environment” with “client anonymity.” Anderson admitted in court proceed- ings that he had violated reporting and registration regulations. Although the bank’s offices were in New York, he had not registered with authorities there. In addition, the bank also lost $4 million of its investors’ funds in fraudulent oil and gas investments. Pace, Eric. “Robert B. Anderson, Ex-Treasury Chief, Dies at 79.” The New York Times. August 16, 1989. Richter, Paul. “Former Treasury Secretary Faces Prison.” Los Angeles Times. March 27, 1987. “Robert Anderson.” NNDB Intelligence Aggre- gator. 000167766/ “Robert Bernard Anderson: From Tax Policy to Tax Evasion.” The Downfall Dictionary. January 18, 2009. “Treasury’s Anderson: A Soft Answer Turneth Away Tax Cuts.” Time. June 9, 1958.  |  Spring 2017  |  FINANCIAL HISTORY  19