NYC Contractor Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Tax Evasion Scheme
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Kathryn Keneally, the Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, and Richard Weber, Chief, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), announced that NICK A. JODHA, a/k/a “Nick Persaud,” the owner of a contracting business that provided heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (“HVAC”) services throughout the New York City metropolitan area, pled guilty today for his role in a tax evasion scheme. JODHA pled guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Sullivan.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Nick Jodha has admitted to hiding income and to filing false corporate and personal tax returns, not once but for four consecutive years. His dishonesty cost the government more than $200,000 in tax revenue, and it now will likely cost him his liberty.”
Assistant Attorney General Kathy Keneally said: “Taxpayers who own businesses and seek to evade paying their fair share of taxes, whether through failing to report all of their business’s proceeds or falsely treating personal expenses as business deductions, will be held accountable. The Department of Justice remains committed to investigating and prosecuting those who choose to violate the tax laws.”
IRS-CI Chief Richard Weber said: "Jodha's attempt to evade tax by hiding income and filing false returns was a theft from the American public. It is a felony offense that carries severe consequences. The overarching principle of IRS's enforcement strategy is simply this: We protect the integrity of the tax system by ensuring everyone pays the right amount of tax."
According to the allegations contained in the Information and statements made at the plea proceeding:
JODHA operated and was a 50% owner of United HVAC Services, Inc. (“United HVAC”), an HVAC contracting firm based in South Ozone Park, New York, with operations throughout New York City. From 2007 through 2010, JODHA cashed more than $2.3 million in checks made payable to United HVAC at a check cashing service in Manhattan, rather than depositing the business checks into the business’s corporate bank account. JODHA used the proceeds from the cashed checks for business and personal purposes.
During the same time period, in order to prepare both personal and corporate income tax returns, JODHA provided his accountant with the statements from the business bank account of United HVAC. However, JODHA failed to inform his accountant of the checks he cashed at the check cashing service, which were not reflected in the statements of United HVAC’s business bank account. Moreover, JODHA failed to advise his accountant that he used a portion of the cashed checks for business and personal expenses.
JODHA admitted to filing false S-Corporation income tax returns on behalf United HVAC for the tax years 2007 through 2010, which omitted any business activity and flow-through income concerning the cashed business checks, and to filing false individual income tax returns for the tax years 2007 through 2010, which understated his true taxable income and the taxes due on that income. As a result of his conduct, JODHA admitted to causing the government a tax loss of approximately $214,529.
JODHA, 43, of South Ozone Park, New York, and Kissimmee, Florida, pled guilty to one count of tax evasion and faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, JODHA has agreed to pay the IRS restitution in the amount of $214,529. JODHA is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Richard J. Sullivan on July 24, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the efforts of IRS-CI in the investigation. He also thanked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division for their significant assistance in the investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jorge Almonte of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division is in charge of the prosecution.