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Justice News

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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Topsfield Man Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion and Bankruptcy Fraud

BOSTON – A Topsfield man was sentenced today in connection with evading nearly $400,000 in federal income taxes and making false statements in bankruptcy filings. 

Robert P. Bonefant, Jr., 58, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris to 15 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to cooperate with the IRS to assess and pay his outstanding taxes.  In September 2015, Bonefant pleaded guilty to two counts of tax evasion, three counts of filing a false tax return and three counts of bankruptcy fraud. 

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Saris noted the need to deter others from evading their legal obligation to pay taxes.  Judge Saris also pointed out that the loss caused by tax offenses like those committed by Bonefant is not suffered by the Internal Revenue Service, but instead by everyone who pays their taxes. 

In 2008, the IRS assessed Bonefant $194,430 in taxes owed for 2004 and 2005.  Bonefant then began to take steps to prevent the IRS from determining his entire income and actual tax liabilities.  Those steps included depositing $1 million into his father’s bank accounts, including both taxable income and non-taxable business expense reimbursements, filing tax returns that failed to report significant income, and failing to file a return for 2010 when he had income of more than $250,000.   In total, including the amounts assessed for 2004 and 2005 and the amounts owed for 2009 through 2012, Bonefant failed to pay approximately $389,030 in taxes. 

In 2012, Bonefant filed for bankruptcy in Massachusetts seeking to discharge various debts, including the outstanding 2004 and 2005 federal tax liability.  In documents filed with the Bankruptcy Court, Bonefant made false statements concerning his income and assets, as well as his use of his father’s bank accounts.  

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Manny J. Muriel, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Harold H. Shaw, 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.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Balthazard of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit. 

Updated February 25, 2016