The federal government said "no mas" to middleweight boxing champion Roberto Duran and took him to court Wednesday to recover $1.54 million the Internal Revenue Service overpaid him by mistake.
The IRS actually overpaid the Panamanian-born Miami resident by several million dollars, but he sent some of it back. His lawyer, Jan Neiman, said Duran, 37, plans to repay the rest."All's well that ends well, except that it hasn't ended yet," Neiman said.
The problem began in November and December when Duran received three checks totaling more than $3 million, although the agency owed him about $60,000. He cashed two checks worth $1.6 million, but sent back a third one for $1.4 million, Neiman said.
The government sued Duran, who is 85-7 with 59 knockouts, for $1.54 million from the checks he cashed. A hearing was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon before U.S. District Judge Stanley Marcus.
The IRS dispute stemmed from a 1987 incident when the IRS said the boxer owed more than $3.8 million in taxes because he failed to report almost $12.8 million in earnings between 1977 and 1984. Duran filed a suit saying the IRS failed to credit him for $1.3 million in taxes withheld.
The two sides settled in May 1988. The IRS found that Duran, who has won titles in four different divisions, had overpaid some years and underpaid others, and said the agency owed him a $60,000 refund.
"Then the government made a couple of mistakes," Neiman said.
Instead of sending Duran one check for the $60,000, the IRS sent individual checks for the amounts he had overpaid in the last 11 years.
Neiman said he did not know why Duran cashed checks for $623,768 and $979,218.But when the check for $1.4 million came, "he knew it wasn't his and he returned it right away," Neiman said.
The government's suit accuses of Duran of sending or taking $1 million from the first two checks out of the country.