Robert Brockman dies at 81: Billionaire charged in tax fraud case

Robert Brockman dies at 81: Billionaire charged in tax fraud case

August 11, 2022

Penny-pinching billionaire Robert Brockman, who dined on frozen meals and slept in motels, dies at 81: Software exec was awaiting trial of hiding more than $2 BILLION from the IRS – the biggest tax fraud in US history

  • Robert Brockman, a former software tech executive, has died at age 81
  • Married his wife, Dorothy, in 1968 and had one son, Robert Brockman II
  • The former billionaire earned his wealth as an early software pioneer and was an executive of Reynolds & Reynolds Co. 
  • He awaited trial for federal tax fraud charges accumulating $2 billion, the largest case in U.S. history
  • His death will not end the litigation brought forward by the IRS, which seeks $1.4 billion in back taxes, penalties and interest
  • Lawyers argued that Brockman could not stand trial because of advancing dementia

Robert Brockman, the former chief executive of Reynolds & Reynolds Co. who was awaiting trial in the largest federal tax fraud case in U.S. history, has died at age 81.

At the time of his death, the Internal Revenue Services and prosecutors had accused Brockman of utilizing various offshore structures to conceal $2billion.

The IRS believes he used money from those structures to invest in Vista Equity Partners’ software-focused private-equity funds, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. 

His death will not end the civil litigation brought on by the IRS, which seeks $1.4billion in back taxes, penalties and interest that Brockman owed. 

Robert Brockman, 81, was awaiting trial for federal charges of tax fraud

Brockman was regarded as a penny-pincher by his employees as he rarely gave employees raises, ate frozen dinners and forbade employees from smoking to save on health insurance 

Brockman and his wife, Dorothy, moved to Houston after marrying in 1968

Born in May 1941 in St. Petersburg, Fla., Brockman was the son of a gas station owner and a physiotherapist.

He attended Centre College, a liberal arts college in Kentucky, before making his way to the University of Florida.

After graduating from Florida, he became a salesman at both Ford Motor Co. and International Business Machines Corp. 

During this period in the late 1960s, Brockman married his wife, Dorothy.

The couple then moved to Houston where they had their only child, Robert Brockman II. 

Here, Brockman began to teach himself computer programming and started his software company, Universal Computer Systems Inc., which developed and supported software for automotive retailers.

His early wealth grew as Brockman became an early pioneer in the software industry, utilizing the value of recurring revenue while leading his automotive-dealer customers into long-term contracts. 

Through the growth of UMC, the company purchased Reynolds & Reynolds, a competing automotive software company, in 2006 for $2.6 billion.

During his time as an executive, Brockman was regarded as a penny-pincher. 

A complex webbing of Brockman’s offshore structure outlined by the Department of Justice, showing how he concealed $2 billion

Legal filings which argued Brockman was unfit to stand trial because of advancing dementia

The former billionaire reportedly purchased used furniture for company offices, forbade employees from smoking to save on health insurance, stayed in motels while traveling, ate frozen dinners and rarely awarded raises to employees.

After his 2020 indictment, Brockman’s lawyers argued that he wasn’t competent to stand trial because of advancing dementia, court filings claim.

Lawyers supported this by suggesting that his Parkinson’s disease had developed dementia, which had worsened after contracting COVID-19 in December. 

A judge later ruled in May 2022 that he was competent, though his health had deteriorated.

Attorneys said Brockman was bedridden and in hospice care in the weeks leading up to his death. 

The $8 million Houston-based mansion owned by the billionaire and his family, which complements a 143-acre property in Colorado

Among Brockman’s various assets is a Bombardier Inc. Global 600 private jet estimated by prosecutors at $62 million

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