RIDGEFIELD WOMAN ADMITS REMOVING
SOUGHT DURING FEDERAL INVESTIGATION
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JULIANA STARBUCK, 36, 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 of removal of evidence to prevent seizure.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on December 4, 2007, the U.S. District Court in Connecticut issued search warrants authorizing agents of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to search Stepping Stone Farm, a commercial horse farm located at 20 Mopus Bridge Road in Ridgefield, and two safe deposit boxes at a branch of Webster Bank located at 25 Prospect Street in Ridgefield. On December 7, 2007, the IRS agents sought to execute the search warrants, proceeding first to Stepping Stone Farm. On that date, IRS agents spoke by telephone to Juliana Cole Weber, the owner of Stepping Stone Farm, who then instructed one of her daughters to provide safe deposit box keys to the agents so that they would not have to drill and damage the boxes to access their contents. However, before the agents arrived at the Ridgefield Webster Bank branch, Weber’s other daughter, JULIANA STARBUCK, arrived at the bank and began to empty the safe deposit boxes of numerous envelopes containing large amounts of cash. When agents arrived, they found STARBUCK bagging more than $1.3 million in cash that she had removed from the boxes. The IRS agents took custody of the cash at that time.
Judge Arterton has scheduled sentencing for February 7, 2012, at which time STARBUCK faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000. STARBUCK also has agreed to pay certain unpaid federal taxes that she owes, along with interest and penalties.
On September 26, 2011, Weber pleaded guilty to one count tax evasion and one count of failure to collect and pay tax. In pleading guilty, Weber admitted that, during the tax years 2001 through 2006, she filed personal income tax returns with the 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.
Weber awaits sentencing. She also has entered into a stipulated civil forfeiture agreement in which she has agreed to forfeit to the federal government $1 million that was seized at the bank in December 2007. 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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