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Press Release

Salem Man Sentenced to Over a Year in Prison for Tax Evasion

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Hampshire

            CONCORD- Blake Ruggiero, 44, of Salem, New Hampshire, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for tax evasion, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.  

            According to court documents and statements made in court, the defendant has owned and operated Romano’s Pizza in Salem since 1994. The defendant paid a substantial portion of wages to Romano’s employees in cash and failed to declare these wages to the Internal Revenue Service in order to reduce his tax liability.  The defendant kept multiple sets of books that were seized as part of a search warrant.  These documents showed the amounts that the defendant paid in cash but did not report.   As a result of the defendant’s conduct, between 2011 and 2016, the defendant failed to pay to the IRS $621,614.88 of employment-related taxes.        

            Ruggiero previously plead guilty on November 27, 2018.

            “As we approach the tax filing season, this case is a sobering reminder that tax evasion is a serious crime,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.  “Those who act dishonestly to avoid paying their fair share of taxes undermine the integrity of the tax system.  We will continue to work with the IRS to identify and prosecute those who violate our tax laws.”         

            “Our nation's tax system requires all of us to pay what we owe, or else our society cannot function,” said Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigations in Boston.  “This is an appropriate sentence for an individual who failed to pay significant employment taxes owed by his restaurant.  Those who skirt the law in this manner gain a competitive advantage that is unfair to honest taxpayers.  Violators will be prosecuted, punished and obligated to repay their taxes, along with substantial penalties and interest.”

            This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Aframe.

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Updated March 8, 2019

Topic
Tax
Press Release Number: 19-022