WASHINGTON – Giancarlo Pertile was sentenced to prison for tax evasion yesterday afternoon, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz sentenced Pertile, the former owner of Art Marble Design Inc., in Moorpark, Calif., to 60 months in federal prison and ordered Pertile to pay a fine of $75,000.
In January 2009, Pertile was convicted by a Los Angeles federal jury of five counts of tax evasion for the years 1998 through 2002. According to evidence presented at trial and at the sentencing hearing, Pertile did not report the profits from the operation of his business, Art Marble Design, on his personal income tax returns for tax years 1998 through 2002. As a result of his concealment of business receipts from his bookkeeper and his accountant, Pertile caused false and fraudulent corporate income tax returns to be filed with the IRS, falsely understating his business’ income for the years at issue. Additionally, Pertile filed individual income tax returns for the years 1998 through 2002 that falsely understated his taxable income.
According to evidence presented at trial , Pertile paid only $1,200 in federal income tax from 1998 to 2002 despite earning over $850,000 from the operation of Art Marble Design during the same time period. Instead of reporting the profits from the business on his tax returns, Pertile deposited a substantial portion of the business income into additional bank accounts that he concealed from his bookkeeper, accountant and the IRS. As a result of Pertile’s conduct, he evaded the payment of approximately $247,000 in federal income tax between 1998 and 2002.
At trial, Pertile unsuccessfully argued that his company’s business receipts were not taxable because the company was owned by a "pure trust." Pertile also placed his home in the name of a ministry to conceal his ownership in the property from the IRS.
According to statements made by Judge Matz at the sentencing hearing, Pertile was sentenced to five years in prison based on a number of facts. Specifically, Judge Matz stated that after Pertile was indicted on tax charges, he continued with the same course of frivolous arguments that led to the indictment. Judge Matz also noted that Pertile attempted to obstruct his criminal prosecution by filing documents denying that the court possessed jurisdiction over him. Judge Matz stated that Pertile’s arguments made no sense and were designed solely to obstruct. In making this assessment, Judge Matz noted that the Pertile is a man of "supreme intelligence" who has two PhDs and who clearly knew better. Judge Matz stated that Pertile’s "arrogant conduct knows no limits."
According to statements made at the sentencing hearing, Judge Matz believed that Pertile showed no contrition or remorse. The judge stated that Pertile was "hypocritical" in accepting Social Security benefits and applying to become a U.S. citizen while refusing to admit to his failure to pay his personal taxes.
"This is precisely the type of conduct the Tax Division is committed to stopping under the National Tax Defier Initiative," said John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. "Those who do engage in or promote this illegal tax defier conduct face being branded a felon for life, prison time, fines and still having to pay back all of the taxes and interest."
"Mr. Pertile chose to subscribe to a frivolous tax argument and lost," said Eileen Mayer, Chief of IRS - Criminal Investigation. "While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in the courts, taxpayers do not have the right to violate and disobey tax laws. As in the case against Mr. Pertile, and others similarly situated, the courts have consistently held that there are no legal grounds for the failure to file tax returns or the failure to pay one’s tax liability."
Acting Assistant Attorney General DiCicco commended the IRS special agents who investigated the case, as well as Tax Division trial attorneys Jed Silversmith and Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Pell, who prosecuted the case.
More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts is available at www.usdoj.gov/tax.