COUPLE PLEAD GUILTY TO TAX EVASION AND ILLEGAL STRUCTURING CONSPIRACIES
BOSTON, Mass. - JOSEPH A. PINGARO, JR. and his wife, CHRISTINE SCOLA, both of Middleton, pleaded guilty today of conspiring to defraud the United States by filing false income tax returns and illegally structuring cash transactions to evade reporting requirements.
PINGARO, 55, and SCOLA, 52, each pleaded guilty to one count of tax conspiracy and one count of structuring conspiracy, both running from at least 2001 to 2006. U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for July 19, 2011. Each defendant faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain/loss, whichever is greater. Each defendant also faces restitution (including back taxes, penalties, and interest) on the tax conspiracy count, and criminal forfeiture under the structuring conspiracy count.
PINGARO is the sole owner and operator of J&J Metals, a scrap metal yard in Roxbury. Each of the defendants admitted that they transferred large amounts of money, totaling millions of dollars, from the J&J business bank account into their personal bank account. SCOLA then withdrew cash from the personal account in a series of withdrawals, each just under $10,000, over consecutive days. PINGARO and SCOLA then used substantial amounts of the cash to make large personal expenditures, both directly and indirectly. The indirect personal cash expenditures were accomplished by both using cash to purchase money orders and bank checks that were then used for personal expenditures and paying third parties to purchase money orders and bank checks which were then used for the defendants’ personal expenditures. PINGARO then falsely claimed on his income taxes that almost all of the cash withdrawn was used for legitimate deductible business expenses for J&J Metals.
PINGARO and SCOLA’s scheme was designed to conceal the actual profits of J&J Metals and evade federal income tax. SCOLA’s banking activity was designed to further this evasion by avoiding the requirement that financial institutions must file a Currency Transaction Report with the government for any cash transactions exceeding $10,000. Similarly, PINGARO and SCOLA conspired to avoid U.S. Postal reporting requirements for purchase of $3,000 or more in money orders from any one location in a single day, by conducting a series of transactions over consecutive business days and in various locations.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation - Boston Field Division; and Robert Bethel, Special Agent in Charge of the Postal Inspection Service, Boston Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael L. Tabak of Ortiz’s Strike Force Unit and Amy Harman Burkart of Ortiz’s Computer Crimes Unit.