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Press Release

New Jersey Construction Company Operator Pleads Guilty to Tax Crimes and Bankruptcy Fraud

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A New Jersey man pleaded guilty yesterday to tax evasion, employment tax crimes, aiding the filing of false tax returns and making false statements in bankruptcy.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Zeki Donuk, of Landing, operated a construction business first under the name Titan Builders LLC and later as Titan Steel Construction LLC (collectively, “Titan”). From at least 2016 through 2019, Donuk cashed checks payable to Titan instead of depositing them into business bank accounts. Donuk concealed the cashed checks and did not report them either as gross receipts on Titan’s corporate tax returns or as income on his or his wife’s personal returns.

As part of his plea, Donuk admitted that from the third quarter of 2016 through the third quarter of 2017, he also did not collect, account for or pay over to the IRS employment taxes withheld from employees’ wages, despite a legal obligation to do so. For those quarters, Donuk also did not file quarterly employment tax returns on behalf of the businesses.

In 2019, Donuk made false statements on documents he filed in a personal bankruptcy case. Specifically, he concealed from the bankruptcy court that he owned a vacation property in Pennsylvania, had signatory authority over certain bank accounts, owed tax debts to the IRS and operated his construction business as Titan Builders and Titan Steel.

U.S. District Judge Esther Salas for the District of New Jersey set sentencing for Jan. 4, 2024. Donuk faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count of tax evasion, failure to account for and pay employment taxes and bankruptcy fraud, and a maximum penalty of three years in prison for each false return. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation, the FBI and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration are investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Melissa S. Siskind of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Levin for the District of New Jersey are prosecuting the case.

Updated September 15, 2023

Press Release Number: 23-1,011