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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 6, 2021

Owner of Several Connecticut and New York Pizza Restaurants Sentenced to Prison for Tax Offense

Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that BRUNO DiFABIO, 51, of Ridgefield, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden to 30 days of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for a federal tax offense.

According to court documents and statements made in court, DiFabio has had various ownership interests in several pizza restaurants in Connecticut and New York, including Pinocchio Pizza LLC, doing business as Pinocchio Pizza in New Canaan, Connecticut; Top Oven Restaurant Corp., doing business as Pinocchio Pizza in Wilton, Connecticut; DiFabio Brothers Pizza Corp., doing business as Amore Pizza in Scarsdale, New York; Odell Pizza, Inc., doing business as Amore Cucina and Bar in Stamford, Connecticut; Nepperhan Restaurants Group, Inc., doing business as ReNapoli Pizza, in Old Greenwich, Connecticut; and Homefield Restaurant Corp., doing business as Pinocchio Pizza in Pound Ridge, New York.

DiFabio and his business partner in some restaurants, Steven Cioffi, engaged in a practice whereby cash was removed from the cash register and not deposited into the restaurant’s operating bank account.  The businesses’ outside bookkeeper and accountant used the bank records to determine business gross receipts.  When cash was removed from the register and not deposited into the business bank account, the cash would not be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.  DiFabio and Cioffi also knew that certain employees had their wages paid in cash, and that a certain number of the employees were paid either a portion or the entirety of their wages “off the books.”  By paying various expenses in cash and “off the books,” DiFabio, Cioffi and others facilitated the manipulation of net income reported to the IRS and the underpayment of withholding taxes to the IRS.

As a result of the scheme, the loss to the IRS in income taxes and employment taxes for the 2013 through 2015 tax years was $816,954.  DiFabio has paid approximately $125,000 in restitution to date, and he has agreed to provide additional assets, including interests in his home and businesses, to make full restitution. 

On October 25, 2018, DiFabio pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to file false income tax returns and payroll tax returns. 

DiFabio, who is released on a $100,000 bond, is required to report to prison on July 12, 2021.

On September 24, 2018, Cioffi pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return.  The loss to the IRS in income taxes and employment taxes for the 2013 through 2015 tax years attributable to Cioffi’s conduct in this scheme was $122,177.59.  On April 27, 2021, Judge Bolden sentenced him to 30 days of imprisonment and ordered him to make full restitution.

On June 4, 2019, Idalecia Lopes Santos, the businesses’ bookkeeper, pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion.  On March 30, 2021, she was sentenced to three years of probation. 

On January 25, 2021, James Guerra, the businesses’ accountant, pleaded guilty to one count of willful failure to collect and pay over withholding taxes.  He awaits sentencing.

This investigation has been conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.

Topic(s): 
Tax
Component(s): 
Updated May 6, 2021