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Robert F. Smith, the billionaire investor who pledged to pay off the student debt of Morehouse College's graduating class last year, is under investigation by the Justice Department for possible tax crimes.


Smith is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of the private equity and venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners, which has an office in downtown Austin.

Bloomberg reported Friday that federal authorities have spent four years examining whether Smith failed to pay taxes on about $200 million in assets by moving them through offshore accounts.

Smith is trying to resolve the case with a civil settlement, according to Bloomberg, but if convicted he could be sentenced to prison and forced out of his firm.

Smith's profile has increased in the last few years. He married his second wife, former Playmate of the Year Hope Dworacyzk, in 2015, and became the first Black American to sign the Giving Pledge, a campaign founded by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to get billionaires to pledge at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

In May of 2019, Smith gave the commencement address at Morehouse College, a historically black men's college in Atlanta, and announced he would pay off the student loans of the roughly 400 graduates.

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