Former Palm Beach County Resident Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Not Filing Tax Returns and Naturalization Fraud
A former Florida woman was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for willfully failing to file tax returns and naturalization fraud.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Lucia Andrea Gatta was an Italian citizen, born in Chile. In 2001, Gatta moved to and began residing in the United States, and in 2012 she became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Starting with tax year 2005, Gatta stopped filing tax returns or paying taxes on her income to the IRS. From 2011 to 2013, Gatta possessed millions of dollars in assets held in a foreign bank account in Switzerland that earned her hundreds of thousands in interest and dividend income every year. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are required to file with the U.S. Treasury Department a FinCEN Form 114 - Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) if the combined balance of all foreign accounts they own, have a financial interest in or signature authority over is more than $10,000 at any point during a calendar year. For those years, Gatta did not file an annual FBAR reporting her interest in her Swiss bank account.
During her citizenship application process, Gatta falsely reported that she had not committed crimes, including her willful failure to file tax returns. Instead, Gatta lied to immigration officials about her income and claimed that her family financially supported her. She also submitted to a U.S. immigration officer false documents that purported to show she had minimal income.
Once Gatta knew she was under criminal investigation, she left the United States for Italy and contested her extradition for over 18 months. But in August 2023, the Italian government ordered Gatta’s extradition to the United States to face charges for her willful failure to file tax returns for tax years 2011 through 2013 and naturalization fraud.
In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon ordered Gatta to serve one year of supervised release and to pay a $50,000 fine.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
IRS Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case.
Senior Litigation Counsel Sean Beaty and Trial Attorney Parker Tobin of the Justice Department’s Tax Division prosecuted the case.