RIDGEFIELD HORSE FARM OWNER
Defendant will forfeit $1 million in addition to paying back taxes, penalties and interest
PLEADS GUILTY TO FEDERAL TAX CHARGES
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JULIANA COLE WEBER, 64, of Mopus Bridge Road, Ridgefield, waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to one count tax evasion and one count of failure to collect and pay tax.
According to court documents and statements made in court, WEBER owned and operated Stepping Stone Farm, Inc., in Ridgefield, a horse farm offering a range of services that included riding lessons, summer camps, birthday parties, horse-boarding, and hosting horse shows. In pleading guilty, WEBER admitted that, during the tax years 2001 through 2006, she filed personal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) that under-reported her taxable federal income by a total of more than $1.1 million, resulting in a failure to pay more than $389,000 in personal income taxes due on that unreported income. In addition, during the 2005 and 2006 tax years, WEBER failed to collect and pay to the IRS federal income tax withholding and FICA taxes that were owed on Stepping Stone Farm's employee payroll, for a total, additional tax underpayment of $190,308.24.
Judge Arterton has scheduled sentencing for December 15, 2011, at which time WEBER faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $110,000. WEBER also is required to pay all taxes owed, as well as interest and penalties.
In addition, WEBER has entered into a stipulated civil forfeiture agreement in which she has agreed to forfeit to the federal government $1 million that was seized from a safe deposit box during the course of the investigation. An additional $333,755.58 that was seized from the safe deposit box, and $31,870.05 in cash that was seized from two safes at the Stepping Stone Farm, will be credited against WEBER’s civil tax liability.
This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Henry K. Kopel.
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