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Hudson county criminal defense attorney pleads guilty to tax crimes, consents to disbarment

September 14 , 2011


NEWARK, N.J. – A Hudson County, N.J., defense attorney who has not filed a personal income tax return since 2000 admitted today to committing tax crimes in connection with income he received from his law practice, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Francis Cutruzzula, 48, of River Vale, pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with two counts of tax evasion and one count of failure to file a tax return. He entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court.

“Cutruzzula intentionally ducked his legal obligations, hiding personal income in a company account and then spending it on custom suits and travel,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “It is fitting that, as part of his punishment, Cutruzzula will forfeit the privilege of practicing law.”

“Attorneys and other professionals who work within our judicial system are expected to know and follow the law,” stated Victor W. Lessoff, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office. “Nobody is above the law and IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to vigorously investigate those individuals who knowingly and willfully violate their tax obligation.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

A 1988 graduate of Seton Hall Law School, Cutruzzula was admitted to practice law in New Jersey and was the sole proprietor of the Jersey City law practice of Francis S. Cutruzzula, P.A. Despite receiving significant income from his law practice, Cutruzzula has not filed a personal income tax return since calendar year 2000.

Cutruzzula is also the sole owner of FSC Imports, Inc., a domestic corporation purportedly in the business of importing water from Italy. FSC has not filed a corporate income tax return since it was incorporated in 2002.

Cutruzzula maintained four separate bank accounts; an account in the name of Francis S. Cutruzzula,( the “Operating Account”); an account in the name of Francis S. Cutruzzula, P.A., (the “Attorney-Trust account”); an account in the name of Francis S. Cutruzzula, (the “Personal Account”) and an account in the name of FSC Imports, Inc, (the “FSC Account”).

As examples, during calendar years 2005 and 2006, Cutruzzula deposited approximately $364,649 and $481,547, respectively, in total gross receipts from his law practice into the Operating Account, the FSC Account and the Personal Account.

Cutruzzula then wrote checks and made withdrawals totaling approximately $210,145 for 2005 and $259,538 in 2006, spending the money on various personal expenses, including custom-made men’s suits; a men’s Tourneau watch; payments to various luxury resorts, a Disney Vacation Club, and his retirement account; mortgage payments for his personal residence; cash payments to himself; and payments to various personal credit card accounts that he used.

Based on his 2005 net taxable income of approximately $181,080, Cutruzzula owed the IRS approximately $68,336 in taxes. Based on his 2006 net taxable income of approximately $315,660, Cutruzzula owed approximately $119,117. Cutruzulla did not file returns either year, nor make any payments on his taxes.

During calendar year 2007, Cutruzzula received total gross income of approximately $296,676 and failed to file a return. Between calendar years 2005 and 2007, Cutruzzula received more than $1.1 million in total gross receipts from his law practice and other sources.

The tax evasion charges to which Cutruzzula pleaded guilty each carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The failure to file charge carries a maximum potential penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Dec. 20, 2011.

As part of his guilty plea, Cutruzzula has agreed to a voluntary lifetime disbarment from the Bar of the State of New Jersey and has confirmed this by signing a Disbarment by Consent form, which will be filed with the New Jersey Supreme Court. This consent to disbarment is an absolute bar to Cutruzzulla ever seeking reinstatement to the Bar of the State of New Jersey, and if accepted by the Supreme Court, will result in an order of disbarment and the assessment of disciplinary costs.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah J. Gannett of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit.


Defense counsel: Jeffrey Garrigan Esq., Jersey City, N.J.

Cutruzzula, Francis Information

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