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Press Release

Insurance Producer Admits Tax Fraud Scheme

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A New York man today admitted his role in a $38 million employment tax fraud scheme involving nursing homes he owned across the country, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Joseph Schwartz, 64, of Suffern, New York, pleaded guilty before U.S. district Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to two counts of an indictment charging him with willfully failing to pay over employment taxes withheld from employees of his company, and willfully failing to file an annual financial report with the Department of Labor for the employee 401K Benefit Plan Schwartz sponsored.

“Joseph Schwartz admitted to defrauding the United States by failing to pay over to the IRS more than $38 million in payroll taxes. As an employer, Schwartz was required to withhold trust fund taxes from his employees’ paychecks and then dutifully report and turn those monies over to the IRS. Schwartz broke the law when he willfully withheld trust fund taxes from his employees but pocketed the money he had withheld rather than turning it over to the government; he will now be held accountable for his criminal tax violations.”

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger

“Today’s plea is just one more example of our commitment to investigate and prosecute those who fail to comply with their federal tax obligations,” Tammy Tomlins, IRS – Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the Newark Field Office, said. “The defendant cheated taxpayers out of more than $38 million by failing to comply with the taxes he was beholden to pay on behalf of his employees. IRS Criminal Investigation will hold accountable individuals who willfully participate in tax fraud schemes.”

“Schwartz admits he willfully failed to pay over employment taxes, basically stealing money from his employees and the IRS,” FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “These taxes are an incredibly important facet of how our government functions, making up a significant portion of revenues brought in by the Treasury Department. Other fraudsters currently committing the same fraud should pay attention to the lesson Schwartz learned the hard way – don't cheat the taxman.” 

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

From Oct. 31, 2017, through May 30, 2018, Schwartz was the owner of Skyline Management Group LLC and related entities with headquarters in New Jersey. Schwartz admitted that he was required to collect, truthfully account for and pay over to the IRS on behalf of employees of Skyline Management Group the trust fund taxes imposed on their employees by the Internal Revenue Service but failed to do so. The total amount of taxes was $38.9 million.

Schwartz admitted he was also an administrator of the Skyline 401K plan and had an obligation to file an annual Form 5500 financial report with the secretary of Labor for calendar year 2018, but knowingly and willfully failed to file the report.

The employment tax fraud count is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.  The failure to file a Form 5500 related to the retirement plan count carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for May 22, 2024.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins in Newark; investigators with the Department of Labor-Employee Benefits Security Administration, under the direction of Regional Director Thomas Licetti in the New York Regional Office; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kendall Randolph of the Criminal Division in Newark and Trial Attorney Shawn Noud of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.


Updated January 17, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-023