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Press Release

New York Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Returns

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Failed to Report More than $650,000 in Income from Online Sales of Sunglasses and Eyeglasses

A Brooklyn, New York, business owner pleaded guilty today to two counts of filing false tax returns, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to court documents and information presented in court, Michael Stern, 48, was the founder and operator of Prestige Optical, a retailer of sunglasses and eyeglasses.  For the 2006 and 2007 tax years, Stern filed false federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on which he failed to report approximately $656,780 of income from online retail sales.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York set sentencing for Sept. 9.  Stern faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count of filing a false tax return.  As part of his plea agreement, Stern also agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $190,781.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Mark Kotila and Jack Morgan of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.

Updated May 4, 2016

Press Release Number: 16-528