Alleged Mafia Soldier Charged With Tax Evasion
Salvatore Demeo Failed to Report More Than $2 Million in Capital Gains from Lucrative Real Estate Sales
A four-count indictment was unsealed today in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging Salvatore Demeo, an alleged member of the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, with tax evasion and failure to file tax returns.
The charges were announced by William J. Muller, Executive Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI).
As detailed in the indictment, in two separate real estate transactions in 2013 and 2014, Demeo sold his shares in valuable real estate in Downtown Brooklyn, earning him more than $2 million in capital gains. Rather than report this income, as he was required to do, Demeo took a series of measures designed to conceal the proceeds from the IRS. For example, he instructed his attorney to issue his shares to him in eight separate bank checks: three checks for the first transaction and five checks for the second transaction. In addition, even though Demeo had multiple bank accounts, he chose to not deposit the proceeds into them, and instead enlisted the assistance of others to help conceal the funds. First, he endorsed two checks, amounting to $1 million, to a plumbing business, despite the fact that he has no apparent ownership interest in it, or other business relationship with it. In addition, he endorsed another of the checks, in the amount of approximately $355,944, to an individual who operated an unlicensed check-cashing business, who then withdrew from the accounts approximately five cashier’s checks in smaller amounts, which were then cashed at licensed check-cashing establishments in exchange for a fee. As a result of Demeo’s fraud, Demeo avoided payment of federal taxes in excess of $365,000.
“Today’s arrest reflects our continued commitment to prosecuting alleged members of the mafia with every tool available to us,” stated Executive Assistant United States Attorney Muller. “Tax crimes like those charged in the indictment harm our government and every American citizen. Organized crime members are on notice that this Office and its law enforcement partners will hold them accountable for such economic crimes no less than for their traditional schemes and offenses.”
“Regardless of your occupation, we Americans all must file and pay our income taxes,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Robnett. “The allegations of tax evasion spelled out in this indictment are what IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents have been investigating for almost 100 years.”
The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Geddes is in charge of the prosecution.
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-545 (KAM)