Topsfield Man Pleads Guilty to Tax and Bankruptcy Fraud Charges
BOSTON – A Topsfield man pleaded guilty today in connection with evading nearly $400,000 in federal income taxes and false statements he made in bankruptcy filings.
Robert P. Bonefant, Jr., 57, pleaded guilty to two counts of tax evasion, three counts of filing a false tax return, and three counts of bankruptcy fraud for making false statements. U.S. District Chief Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for Dec. 18, 2015.
In late 2008, the IRS assessed Bonefant for $194,430 in taxes owed for tax years 2004 and 2005. Thereafter, Bonefant took steps to prevent the IRS from learning of his true income and determining his actual tax liabilities. He did so by, among other things, depositing $1 million into his father’s bank accounts, including both taxable income and non-taxable business expense reimbursements. Bonefant also filed three federal income tax returns that failed to report significant income he had received for tax years 2009, 2011, and 2012. Additionally, he failed to file taxes for 2010. In total, including the amounts assessed for 2004 and 2005 and the amounts owed for 2009 through 2012, Bonefant failed to pay approximately $386,984 in taxes.
In 2012, Bonefant filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy case in Massachusetts seeking to discharge various debts, including the outstanding 2004 and 2005 federal tax liability. In documents filed with the Bankruptcy Court, and which he signed under the penalty of perjury, Bonefant made false statements concerning his income and assets, as well as his use of his father’s bank accounts.
The charge of tax evasion provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of filing a false tax return provides a sentence of no greater than three years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of bankruptcy fraud provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. 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; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The U.S. Trustee’s Office in Boston also provided assistance with this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Balthazard of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.