olean businessman pleads guilty to tax evasion
BUFFALO, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Edmund J. Renaud, 70, of Olean, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny, to tax evasion. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen L. Wylegala, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant failed to pay employment taxes for businesses he ran from 2002 through 2008. Renaud ran Southern Tier Moving and Storage, Inc., in Olean until 2002, when the Internal Revenue Service assessed over $48,000 in unpaid federal payroll taxes. Upon shutting down that entity, Renaud opened Southern Tier Moving and Storage, LLC, where from 2002 until 2006, Renaud similarly failed to pay over $86,000 in federal payroll taxes. When IRS revenue officers tried to collect the money, the defendant provided false information about bank accounts and other assets, including a truck he had gotten as a result of accumulating “comp” credits at the Seneca Allegany Casino.
In 2007, Renaud filed an Offer in Compromise, settling about $150,000 in taxes due for payment of only $1500. The information that the defendant provided to the IRS in connection with that Offer in Compromise was false in several respects, including false claims that the defendant was out of business, failure to identify bank accounts, and failure to disclose company assets. In fact, while Renaud was not paying his taxes, his companies were receiving income, and he was gambling heavily. Renaud also was the recipient of a significant Workmen’s Compensation award of approximately $100,000.
Renaud's plea comes on the eve of trial, which was scheduled to begin next week. The trial was to be handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wylegala and Edward White.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Toni Weirauch, New York Field Office.