Florida Landscaper Indicted for Tax Fraud
A Florida man had his initial appearance in court yesterday after being arrested on an indictment charging him with filing false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida.
According to the indictment, Joseph J. Ferry III, owned Ferry Enterprises Inc., a residential and commercial landscaping business serving customers in Martin and Saint Lucie County. Ferry Enterprises also provided landscaping services for Martin County and the City of Port Saint Lucie.
Ferry was charged with five counts of filing false corporate income tax returns and five counts of filing false individual income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that fraudulently understated the total income earned by Ferry Enterprises - and Ferry himself - for tax years 2012 through 2016. The indictment alleges that business income was deposited into corporate bank accounts; however, Ferry allegedly used money from the business bank accounts to pay his personal expenses, including payments on his personal mortgage and loans, purchases of firearms, home renovations, and jewelry. Ferry also allegedly withdrew more than $2.9 million in cash from the corporation’s bank accounts.
If convicted, Ferry faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison for each count of filing a false tax return with the IRS. He also faces substantial monetary penalties and restitution.
An indictment merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Allison J. Garnett and Sean Beaty of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.