Bruce Hochman; Tax Lawyer, Active With Jewish Charities


Bruce I. Hochman, a leading California tax attorney who was active in local Jewish philanthropies, died of natural causes Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 72 and a longtime resident of Beverly Hills.

Hochman specialized in civil and criminal tax litigation and disputes for more than four decades as a founder of the Beverly Hills firm now known as Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez.

Known for his eloquent speech and ability to simplify complex issues, Hochman was highly regarded in Washington as well as in local and state legal circles.


“He was the dean of tax litigators in Los Angeles,” said U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, a former law partner.

Hochman was so respected within the Internal Revenue Service that he was often invited to give lectures to its agents, said Wayne McEwan, the former chief of the agency’s criminal investigations division, who worked opposite Hochman for three decades.

“Bruce was as good as his word. If he said these are the facts, you could take it to bank,” McEwan said. “He never played games.”

Hochman handled many high-profile cases, including a ticket-scalping case involving composer Dominic Frontiere, who was accused of concealing income and failing to report taxes on profit he made from scalping 1980 Super Bowl tickets when his wife, Georgia, was owner of the then-Los Angeles Rams.

His clients included mobster Meyer Lansky, major players in the Nevada gaming industry and figures such as Joe Conforte, the legendary Nevada brothel owner who was convicted on tax-evasion charges in the late 1970s despite attempts to bribe a federal judge.

Some of his cases resulted in changes in tax law, including Wiksell vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue in 1996, which led Congress to pass a law that established the comparative fault of spouses in tax liability cases.


He was a strong supporter of Jewish charities and served as president of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles from 1984 to 1986. He also was regional chairman of the Anti-Defamation League for more than 30 years.

Born in Toronto, he moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA, where he studied as an undergraduate. He was a member of UCLA law school’s inaugural class, graduating in 1952.

After earning his law degree, he enlisted in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Air Force, where he handled military justice cases. He worked for three years as a federal prosecutor handling tax cases in Los Angeles before opening his own firm in 1956.

Hochman is survived by his wife of 38 years, Harriet; daughters Nancy and Jennifer; sons, Nathan and David; and eight grandchildren.

A service will be held at 2 p.m. today at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City. Donations may be made to the United Jewish Fund and United Way.