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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Grammy Award-Winning Songwriter And Producer Admits Failing To File Tax Returns On Over $2.8 Million In Income

NEWARK, N.J. – A singer, songwriter, and music producer from Fort Lee, New Jersey, today admitted that from 2008 through 2012, he knowingly failed to file tax returns on over $2.8 million in income, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Mario Winans, 42, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to Count One and Count Three of an information charging him with failing to file a tax return for tax years 2008 and 2010. Winans also admitted that he failed to file tax returns for 2009, 2011, and 2012, and this conduct will be taken into account at sentencing.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Winans produced songs and albums for various rhythm and blues, hip-hop, and dance music artists, including several artists on the “Bad Boy” record label. Winans acknowledged that he received royalty payments from checks payable to two companies that he controlled, Yellow City LLC and RioWorld LLC. Winans admitted that despite earning more than $2.8 million from 2008 through 2012, he willfully failed to file tax returns for each of those years, resulting in a tax loss of $434,968.

Winans faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $200,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, Winans must also pay restitution of $434,968 to the IRS. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 24, 2017.

Judge Salas set bail at $250,000 and permitted Winans’s release pending sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents with IRS-Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, with the investigation leading to today’s plea.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Mack, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Healthcare and Government Fraud Unit. 

Defense counsel: Aidan P. O’Connor, Hackensack, New Jersey

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 29, 2016