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The Death of Robert Brockman, the IRS-challenging Coder, is a Great Loss

Software sector investor and entrepreneur Robert Brockman, who acquired a multibillion-dollar fortune before being prosecuted in a seminal tax-evasion case, has died. Brockman was a part of the court case. He was 81.

Brockman died late on Friday night, his lawyer Kathy Keneally said. Hospice care was being provided to him at home after a long history of diagnosis with dementia.

He had been defending himself against tax evasion charges since the year 2020, but his attorneys claimed he was incapable to stand trial due to dementia.

A judge ruled in Brockman’s favour in May, finding that he was competent to manage his own affairs. At a hearing one month later, the judge tentatively scheduled his trial for February 23, 2023. A video of Brockman asleep on a bed was played during the hearing.

Keneally said that the government had wasted their time and resources by bringing charges against a man who was suffering from progressive dementia and was near death. “He was getting on in years,” the narrator said.

Brockman was known as a hard worker and fitness enthusiast in his younger years, with a particular fondness for fly fishing in Colorado and dove hunting in Argentina. 4.7 billion dollars is how much Forbes thought his fortune was worth.

Brockman, a native Floridian who came from modest means, was working for International Business Machines Corporation to market computing services to auto dealers when he started the company that would go on to transform the industry across North America and Europe in 1970. Brockman was born and raised in the Sunshine State.

Brockman, an amateur coder, created a tool that helped car dealerships with nearly every aspect of their businesses.

He received over a dozen patents and watched as his software firm, Reynolds & Reynolds, grew from a few employees to a 5,000-strong enterprise worth around $5 billion.

While Brockman was building his company into an industry giant, he was simultaneously fending off many lawsuits alleging he engaged in shady business tactics.

The car dealerships said he tricked them into signing pricey multi-year contracts and that the salespeople were never paid by his organisation.

The FTC looked into his business practices to see if he had taken any anti-competitive measures.

Brockman, a former Marine reservist known for his loyal lieutenants, had a strong desire for secrecy, and this extended to his dealings with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Entrepreneur Robert Tyson, who successfully sued Brockman for unpaid services, claimed that the company had just one rule: “Don’t do business with the government.” Having the federal government look into anything was something he was adamantly against.

The United States of America charged Brockman with the largest case of individual tax evasion and money laundering in October of 2020.

Burner Phones


By making the first investment in Robert F. Smith’s company, Vista Equity Partners, Brockman played an instrumental role in launching the private equity career of America’s wealthiest Black citizen, Robert F. Smith.

The majority of Brockman’s alleged earnings came from Vista investments. According to the allegations made by the prosecutors, Brockman hid $2 billion in income from the IRS by using a complex network of offshore companies, code names, and burner phones.

Smith admitted that he had committed tax violations, but he was able to avoid prosecution thanks to his cooperation with prosecutors against Brockman.

The prosecution’s case against Brockman hinged on determining whether or not the billions of dollars that were held in an offshore charitable trust were independently managed, as he claimed, or whether or not they were secretly controlled by Brockman, as the prosecution alleged.

The prosecution claims that he purchased a fishing lodge in Colorado, a private jet, and a yacht with a length of 200 feet using untaxed proceeds from offshore entities. However, his attorneys have refuted these claims.

James Lee, an IRS official, was quoted as saying at the time that the charges were brought that “I have not seen this pattern of greed or concealment and cover-up in my 25 plus years as a special agent.”

Brockman entered a plea of not guilty, but his attorneys quickly began to argue that he was unable to assist in his own defence due to dementia.

Robert Theron Brockman was born on May 28th, 1941 in the city of St. Petersburg, which is located in the state of Florida.

His grandfather, Alfred Eugene Brockman, was the proprietor of a service station. Pearl, who raised him, worked as a physiotherapist.

Brockman “decided he didn’t love that and went out to make something of himself,” David, Brockman’s younger brother, told the Wall Street Journal in 2021. At the time, the family was going through a difficult financial situation.

After receiving his degree with the highest honours from the University of Florida in 1963, Brockman began his career as a marketing trainee at Ford Motor Company.

He then moved on to IBM, where he rose through the ranks to become one of the most successful salesmen in Washington and Houston.

According to Auto News, he founded his own company, Universal Computer Systems, in 1970 and began offering weekly inventory reports to automobile dealerships around that same year.

As Brockman was developing his business, he crossed paths with Smith, who was working as a rising technology investment banker for Goldman Sachs at the time.

After that, Brockman provided at least one billion dollars in funding to Smith’s company, Vista, so that it could purchase enterprise software companies. According to the prosecution, the arrangement was set up in such a way as to hide the earnings overseas.

Brockman engineered the deal that propelled UCS into the big leagues in 2006 by combining his software development and investment activities.

Reynolds & Reynolds, a publicly traded corporation that was nearly twice as large as Brockman’s company, was purchased by the latter.

One of the sources of equity financing was Vista’s original fund, in which Brockman was the only investor from the outside.

Reynolds & Reynolds became the name of the united company, which was managed by a charitable trust established in Bermuda under Brockman’s late father’s name. The trust’s overseas holdings expanded in tandem with Brockman’s growing fortune.

Dorothy, the man’s wife, stated in an affidavit that the assets included $1.4 billion in a Swiss bank account, $1.3 billion in investments made through an entity based in the British Virgin Islands, and $5 billion worth of holdings in software companies. The affidavit was submitted to a court in Bermuda.

Support For Opera

The Bermudian trust and the Brockman family both became involved in charitable giving at some point. Their charitable contributions included tens of millions of dollars to the Baylor College of Medicine, where Brockman served as a trustee and the construction of the Brockman Hall for Opera at Rice University in Houston.

They also provided financial assistance to several pupils by way of scholarships.

On the other hand, in 2018, US tax authorities conducted raids at Brockman’s attorneys’ offices in Houston and Bermuda. They discovered a stockpile of encrypted papers and messages, which the prosecutors later utilized in the process of developing their criminal case against Brockman.

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The Internal Revenue Service issued a tax lien on Brockman for $1.4 billion the previous year, alleging that he owed back taxes dating from 2004 to 2018.

In January, he filed a lawsuit against the United States in an attempt to stop the agency from immediately assessing the tax.

A few days later, he initiated a separate legal proceeding in the Tax Court. While the criminal case against him will be closed, the fight with the IRS over his fortune could take years.

Keneally stated that a ruling by the Tax Court would need to be made before it could be determined whether or not Bob Brockman was in fact required to pay more taxes.

He is survived by his brother David, his wife of 53 years, Dorothy, a son named Robert Brockman II, a daughter-in-law, a grandson, and a granddaughter. Additionally, he leaves behind a daughter-in-law.

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