Blackstone Man Pleads Guilty to Tax Crime
BOSTON – A Blackstone, Mass. man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to charges that he impeded the IRS by cashing nearly $3 million in checks from his masonry business at check cashing services to evade the IRS.
John W. Lippolis, 55, pleaded guilty today to one count of corruptly endeavoring to impede the IRS. U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Oct. 14, 2015.
From 2005 to 2011, Lippolis was the sole proprietor of JW Masonry, a masonry company which operated in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. At various times, he also worked for his son’s business, JM Masonry Inc. When Lippolis was paid by check for work performed, he used check cashing services to cash the checks instead of depositing the funds into a bank account in an effort to avoid IRS scrutiny. Lippolis operated his business in cash, paid workers in cash, and requested that customers not write checks to him for amounts exceeding $10,000, which would trigger a reporting requirement for financial institutions that cashed the checks. Lippolis also failed to file tax returns for many years. The tax loss to the IRS exceeded $450,000.
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than three years in prison, one year of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra S. Bower of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.