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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Additional charges filed against a local businessman in a bribery scandal involving buffalo police

       BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment adding two new charges against James Mazzariello, Jr., 58, of Marilla, N.Y. The new charges against Mazzariello accuse him of filing false tax returns, each of which carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison, a fine of $100,000 or both. 

The defendant was originally charged in October 2013 along with his son, Adam Mazzariello, 33, and Christopher Mahoney, 29, for conspiring to pay bribes to City of Buffalo police officers. All three defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge, a fine of $250,000 or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito, Jr., who is handling the case, stated that James Mazzariello, Jr. owns and operates Jim Mazz Auto, Inc. (“Jim Mazz Auto”) and National Towing, Inc (“National Towing”). The companies are involved in all aspects of the automobile towing and repair business, including collision repair work, mechanical repair work, towing and storage work, and the sale of used automobiles. Adam Mazzariello supervises towing services for the businesses and Christopher Mahoney serves in a managerial capacity for each of the businesses.

According to the indictment and superseding indictment, between August 2006 and May 2012, each of the defendants conspired to pay City of Buffalo police officers cash, in return for allowing Jim Mazz Auto tow truck drivers to tow damaged motor vehicles from accident scenes. In furtherance of the conspiracy, each defendant paid police officers cash, or caused Jim Mazz Auto tow truck drivers to pay cash, to City of Buffalo police officers. James Mazzariello, Jr. is further accused of filing false corporate tax returns and false personal tax returns for calendar years 2009 and 2010.

The indictment is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Shantelle P. Kitchen, Acting Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Office, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Criminal Division, under the direction of Owen McShane, Director of Investigations, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of Upstate Chief of Investigations Pat Simet, the New York State Department of Financial Services Criminal Investigations Unit, under the direction of Director Frank Orlando, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.   

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.