The Securities and Exchange Commission is trying to make an example of two Texas brothers convicted in New York of acting fraudulently to evade taxes.
A Manhattan federal judge is presiding this week over the penalty phase of a civil trial against Sam Wyly and the estate of his brother Charles.
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A lawyer for the brothers argued Wednesday that the regulatory agency is asking for way too much money.
On Monday, a government lawyer said the brothers made over $500 million through an offshore system set up to evade taxes.
She says they used some of the money to invest $600 million in U.S. business, $85 million in real estate and $40 million in furniture, art and jewelry.
The brothers eventually made billions of dollars selling four public companies.