Insurance Agent Pleads Guilty To Personal Income Tax Evasion
TRENTON, N.J. – An insurance agent admitted today he evaded paying taxes related to income derived from his sale of insurance products from 2001 through 2005, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Ronald Patetta, 58, of Branchburg, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to Count Three of the Indictment against him, which charged him with tax evasion.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From 2001 through 2005, Patetta worked as a licensed insurance agent and sold insurance products for a number of different insurance companies. Although the insurance companies paid Patetta wages and commissions in excess of nearly $900,000 during those years, Patetta did not pay any taxes on that income. In April 2007, Patetta filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Patetta listed his assets and liabilities in his bankruptcy filing, including liabilities of approximately $440,000 for past taxes owed to the IRS.
Between July 2006 and October 2006, Patetta filed false income tax returns for the 2001 and 2005 tax years showing that he had earned no income for those years and owed no taxes. He also fabricated IRS-1099 forms purportedly from various insurance companies that he attached to his tax returns. These forms falsely showed that the insurance companies paid him no income for the years in question.
Patetta took steps to obstruct the IRS investigation. He sent letters and filed court papers challenging the legality of the IRS’ conduct, their legal authority to perform their jobs, and threatening them with legal action if they persisted. Patetta also sent “cease and desist” letters to the various insurance companies, threatening them with legal action if they complied with any IRS summonses requesting information concerning Patetta.
The charge to which Patetta pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 4, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen, with the investigation of the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gurbir S. Grewal of the Economic Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
Defense counsel: Alain Leibman Esq., Lawrenceville, N.J.