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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 15, 2015

Bridgeport Restaurant Owner Sentenced to Prison for Filing False Tax Returns

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MARIA PINHEIRO, 58, of Trumbull, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to two months of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for filing false tax returns.  Chief Judge Hall also ordered PINHEIRO to perform 100 hours of community service.

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.  Instead of depositing all of the cash receipts from DCM into the DCM business checking account, PINHEIRO deposited substantial amounts of cash from the 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.

On March 25, 2015, PINHEIRO pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return.  As part of her plea agreement, PINHEIRO agreed to pay back taxes, interest and penalties in the total amount of $243,956.98, which she paid in full today.

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

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Updated June 15, 2015