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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bridgeport Restaurant Owner Admits Filing False Tax Returns

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that MARIA PINHEIRO, 57, of Trumbull, waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty yesterday in Bridgeport federal court to filing false tax returns.

According to court documents and statements made in court, PINHEIRO owns and operates the Dolphin’s Cove Marina (“DCM”), a seafood restaurant in Bridgeport. From 2007 through 2009, PINHEIRO was the sole shareholder and bookkeeper for DCM, and she handled all of the DCM finances. In pleading guilty, PINHEIRO admitted that instead of depositing all of the cash receipts from DCM into the DCM business checking account, she deposited substantial amounts of cash from business into her personal checking account. She then failed to provide her personal bank records to the firms that prepared the federal income tax returns for her and DCM.

Between 2007 and 2009, PINHEIRO deposited $352,437 in cash that DCM received into her personal bank account. Some of deposits were structured in amounts of less than $10,001 in order to evade her bank’s currency transaction reporting requirements. PINHEIRO caused the filing of false personal and corporate tax returns, resulting in a tax loss of $92,251.

PINHEIRO pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return. She is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven on June 15, 2015, at which time she faces a maximum term of imprisonment of three years and a fine of up to $100,000. PINHEIRO also has agreed to pay $243,956.98 in back taxes, interest and penalties.

This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah P. Karwan.


Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722

Updated March 26, 2015