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Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar to George S. Boutwell, 7 July 1869

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July 7, 1869. Hon. Geo. S. Boutwell, Secretary of the Treasury. Sir: I have received your letter of the 6th inst. relating to the Internal Revenue case of Engelbrecht and Mayrisch Bros., and Ah Suca. It does not appear that any indictments have been found against these persons. It does appear that their stock was seized, January, 1865, and an information of forfeiture filed against it, and that subsequently an assessment of the taxes withheld was made, which, with the 50 per cent penalty added amounted to $7045:88. The stock seized was released upon a stipulation in the sum of $47616 30/100 in currency, or $25000 in gold—So far as I am able to form any opinion from the papers accompanying your letter, this seems to me a case that should have been vigorously prosecuted, and the persons should have been indicted, convicted and sentenced to imprisonment—and all this should have been done as soon as possible after it was discovered that they had rendered false and fraudulent returns. It is now more than four years since proceedings in this case were instituted, and the District Attorney has great doubts whether he can maintain the suit, although he has no doubt of the guilt of these persons - and he recommends that the offer made by the Company be accepted. On the ground that through lapse of time it is probably impossible to try this case successfully, I recommend that the offer be accepted—but in cases like this where there seems to have been deliberate and systematic fraud, and where the same persons have, as it appears, probably committed the same kind of fraud before, the immediate prosecution of the case of forfeiture, and the indictment of the persons, and their imprisonment, if possible, is, I think, the best course to be taken. In some of the Districts, I am aware that the number of cases upon the dockets of the Courts of the United States renders such a course often impossible. The offer is in this case that the Company pay as tax an assessed penalty of $7045:88 in currency, and a specific penalty of $3500 in gold, and costs. It is entirely for the Department of the Treasury to determine whether this specific penalty shall be paid in gold, or in its equivalent in currency; but I can conceive that by accepting an equivalent amount in currency some embarrassing questions in regard to its distribution may be avoided. I have the honor to be Very Resp. your obd't serv't, E. R. Hoar, Attorney General.
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