States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|January 8, 2010||
BETHEL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL TAX CHARGE
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that WORTH CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., waived indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to one count of aiding and abetting in the filing of a false federal income tax return.
According to court documents and statements made in court, WORTH CONSTRUCTION, based in Bethel, willfully aided and assisted in the preparation and presentation to the Internal Revenue Service of a false federal income tax return for the 1999 tax year. The return stated that WORTH CONSTRUCTION was entitled to claim business deductions in the amount of $97,220 when, in fact, the company knew it was not entitled to claim those deductions because they were personal expenses of Joseph M. Pontoriero, WORTH CONSTRUCTION’s president and 93 percent shareholder at the time, rather than expenses related to the operation of the business. WORTH CONSTRUCTION did not have any additional federal income tax liability for 1999 because it is a Sub-Chapter S Corporation where income or loss flows through to its shareholders.
On December 18, 2009, Pontoriero pleaded guilty to one count of giving a gratuity to a public official, and one count of willfully failing to provide information to the IRS. Pontoriero, who awaits sentencing, has paid the IRS his applicable tax liability of approximately $138,521, plus penalties and interest, for the 1997 through 2001 tax years.
Judge Droney has scheduled sentencing for March 29, 2010, at which time WORTH CONSTRUCTION faces a maximum term of probation of five years and a fine of up to $500,000.
As part of the resolution of this case, WORTH CONSTRUCTION has agreed that it will continue to hire an independent monitor, which has been in place since October 2008, to oversee its operations, including its receipt and treatment of funds. WORTH CONSTRUCTION also has agreed to implement and enforce an effective program to prevent and detect future violations of law, and the company will not allow Pontoriero to be involved in the operation of its business.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General; and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter S. Jongbloed.
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