Jury Finds Former Minnesota Real Estate Developer Guilty Of Tax Evasion, Mail And Wire Fraud
United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the conviction of BARTOLOMEA JOSEPH MONTANARI, 57, formerly of Bayport, Minn., for tax evasion and fraud. On May 21, 2014, MONTANARI was indicted on one count of Evasion of Payment of Taxes, one count of Mail Fraud, and one count of Wire Fraud. On November 25, 2014, following a 6-day trial, a federal jury found MONTANARI guilty on all counts.
The evidence presented at trial proved that from 2009 until January 2012, MONTANARI willfully evaded the payment of employment and excise taxes owed by him and the three businesses he controlled: St. Croix Development, Emlyn Coal Processing, and Montie’s Resources. One of the ways MONTANARI avoided paying taxes and TFRPs was by transferring over $1.1 million into a bank account in the name of Bella Luca Properties LLC (“Bella Luca”), a shell company with no legitimate business purpose but used by MONTANARI to pay personal expenses. MONTANARI evaded payment of more than $700,000 in taxes and TFRPs to the federal government.
In December 2009, when the IRS attempted to collect taxes and TFRPs, MONTANARI filed a fraudulent financial statement making numerous misrepresentations to the IRS to avoid paying the taxes he owed. For example, he failed to disclose multiple personal vehicles that he owned and he denied the existence of the Bella Luca bank account, which he was using to receive monthly compensation of $50,000 from two of his companies. MONTANARI also lied about living in Bayport, Minn., when, in truth, he had already moved into a $1.4 million house he was purchasing in Knoxville, Tennessee.
In addition, as part of a fraud scheme, MONTANARI lied about the sale price of a Caterpillar dozer that he needed to purchase for one of his companies. Montanari submitted a doctored invoice to the dozer financing company, which issued a check for the dozer for $100,000 more than the true purchase price. MONTANARI kept the extra $100,000 and used it as a down payment for the house in Tennessee.
U.S. District Judge Ann D. Montgomery will sentence MONTANARI following the completion of a presentence investigation. A date for sentencing has not been set.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Otteson and Melinda Williams are prosecuting this case.
BARTOLOMEA JOSEPH MONTANARI, 57
• Evasion of Payment of Taxes, 1 count
• Mail Fraud, 1 count
• Wire Fraud, 1 count