Race car driver Helio Castroneves goes on trial today in South Florida in a case filed by prosecutors who apparently don't know that juries are incapable of convicting a celebrity. The IRS claims Castroneves conspired to commit tax fraud and, among other things, agreed to funnel money through a Swiss bank account, which, for the ultrarich, is known simply as banking.
Among the accusations detailed in this indictment: The IRS claims Castroneves entered a secret deal with Brazilian import-export company CISA Trading. The deal called for CISA to pay Castroneves $2 million. He would then allegedly keep $200,000 of it and pay the company back $1.8 million in an effort to hide money from the IRS. It may sound sneaky and perhaps criminal, but what the IRS is forgetting is that Castroneves was on Dancing With the Stars.
Now I've never seen Dancing With the Stars, because the cigarette lighter in my Ford Bronco/house broke and I can no longer power my TV/chair. But I'm going to assume here that viewers get a chance to dance with their favorite stars in a George Orwell-style lottery in which the winners are actually sent off to a gulag and the stars get to embezzle money. We'll find out if that's true this week, when Castroneves has his day in court. I'm guessing he'll get off by pleading not guilty by reason of celebrity.