RIDGEFIELD WOMAN WHO ATTEMPTED TO HIDE
CASH DURING FEDERAL INVESTIGATION IS SENTENCED
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JULIANA STARBUCK, 37, of Ridgefield, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to one year of probation for attempting to remove more than $1.3 million in cash from safe deposit boxes in order to prevent its seizure by federal agents. STARBUCK also was ordered to pay a fine of $1,000.
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 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 Webster Bank, 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.
On November 9, 2011, STARBUCK pleaded guilty to one count of removal of evidence to prevent seizure. STARBUCK also has paid $101,656.00 in federal taxes she owed, 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. 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, she 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.
On March 6, 2012,Weber was sentenced to four months of imprisonment and was ordered to pay a fine of $5000. Also, as part of a stipulated civil forfeiture agreement, Weber has forfeited 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, has been credited against her civil tax liability.
This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Henry K. Kopel.
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