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Press Release

Union County Man Arrested for Corporate Tax Evasion

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A Union County contractor was arrested today for tax evasion, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Joel Konopka, 45, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is charged by indictment with four counts of corporate tax evasion, two counts of filing false corporate tax returns, and two counts of failing to file corporate tax returns. He appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jessica Stein Allen in Newark federal court and was detained.

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

From 2014 through 2017, Konopka was the owner and sole shareholder of Konopka Construction Inc., a business which provided construction, contracting and snow plowing services in northern New Jersey. Under the tax laws of the United States, Konopka was responsible for filing truthful and accurate corporate tax returns, Form 1120s, on behalf of Konopka Construction reporting all of the company’s income.  From 2014 through 2017, Konopka Construction realized business income of at least $3.3 million, including more than $1 million in 2016. Konopka did not truthfully and accurately report that income. For tax years 2014 and 2015, Konopka filed corporate returns which reported no income for Konopka Construction for both years. For tax years 2016 and 2017, Konopka failed to file any corporate returns as required. From 2014 through 2017, Konopka caused no payments to be made to the IRS for any corporate tax.

Konopka disguised the income realized by Konopka Construction by operating almost exclusively in cash. Konopka received hundreds of checks annually made payable to Konopka Construction for services rendered totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars and cashed all but one check at check cashing businesses in Essex and Ocean counties. 

The tax evasion charges are punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum $500,000 fine per count. The filing of false tax returns charges are punishable by a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $500,000 maximum fine per count. The failure to file tax return charges are punishable by a maximum of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine per count.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents with IRS - Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark J. McCarren and Francesca Liquori of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Updated August 14, 2023

Press Release Number: 23-231