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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Former Chief Financial Officer of “Soup Nazi” Business Sentenced to 9 Months’ Imprisonment for Tax Evasion

Defendant Failed to Pay Medicare, Social Security, and Federal Income Taxes

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Robert N. Bertrand, the Former Chief Financial Officer of Soupman, Inc. (“Soupman”), was sentenced by United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen to nine months’ imprisonment for failure to pay Medicare, Social Security and federal income taxes, to be followed by a one year term of supervised release.  Soupman, which is based on Staten Island, licenses its name and recipes from Al Yeganeh, the inspiration for the “Soup Nazi” character on the television series “Seinfeld.”  The Court also ordered Bertrand to pay $78,518.18 in restitution to the United States.  Bertrand pleaded guilty in December 2017.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James D. Robnett, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), announced the sentence. 

 According to court filings and facts presented during court proceedings, as Soupman’s CFO, Bertrand had a corporate responsibility to collect, truthfully account for and pay Medicare, Social Security and federal income taxes for Soupman’s employees.  Between 2010 and 2014, Bertrand made unreported payments to Soupman employees, and compensated certain employees in large unreported stock awards.  Bertrand never reported this employee compensation to the IRS, and never paid Medicare, Social Security and federal income taxes on the side payments or the stock awards, despite a 2012 warning from an external auditor that these payments should be reported to the IRS.  From 2010 through 2014, Soupman’s total approximate unreported cash and stock compensation was more than $2.85 million, and the total approximate tax loss to the United States was in excess of $593,000.

“Bertrand has been held to account for abusing his position as the CFO of a publicly traded company in a long-running scheme that cheated the nation’s treasury out of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “Today’s sentencing makes clear that this Office, with our partners at the IRS, will pursue corporate gatekeepers like the defendant who fail to enforce their companies’ tax obligations.”

“Corporate executives such as Mr. Bertrand have a responsibility to collect and turn over all IRS withholding taxes,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Robnett.  “His failure to withhold and pay over is a clear violation that directly impacts those employees of Soupman Inc. and U.S. taxpayers now and in the future.  Today justice is served, and Mr. Bertrand is being held accountable for his criminal actions.”   

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section.  Assistant United States Attorney Kaitlin T. Farrell is in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant:

Robert N. Bertrand
Age:  63
Norwalk, Connecticut

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-186

Topic(s): 
Tax
Contact: 
John Marzulli Tyler Daniels United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated April 12, 2018