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Press Release

Tax Accountant Sentenced To 42 Months For Scamming Clients In Fraud And Money Laundering Scheme

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

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SALVATORE ARENA was sentenced on December 13 to 42 months in prison for defrauding clients who trusted him to prepare and pay their taxes.  ARENA misappropriated over $780,000 of client money from approximately 170 victims for his own use.  ARENA pled guilty on August 23, 2019, before United States District Judge Katherine Polk Failla, who imposed Friday’s sentence.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Salvatore Arena misappropriated money his clients intended would be used to pay their taxes.  He defrauded his clients and the United States, and now he has been sentenced to prison for his crimes.”

According to allegations in the criminal complaint, the information, and other documents filed in federal court, as well as statements made in public court proceedings:

During the relevant time period, ARENA purported to offer tax services, including the preparation and payment of taxes, to clients of an accounting firm in Manhattan.  Instead of making payments on behalf of those clients, as ARENA represented he would, he diverted client funds for his own use.  ARENA executed this fraudulent scheme in two primary ways – first, by diverting pre-payments of taxes to his own tax account and later claiming illegitimate refunds; and second, by misappropriating tax payments clients had wired into a bank account controlled by ARENA.

ARENA defrauded approximately 170 victims during the period from January 2014 through March 2019, and agreed as part of his guilty plea to forfeit $789,195.35 in United States currency, representing proceeds traceable to the charged offenses, and was ordered by the Court to pay restitution of at least $726,608.42.

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ARENA, 46, of Queens, New York, was sentenced to concurrent terms of 42 months in prison for mail fraud, money laundering, and wire fraud.  In addition to the prison term, ARENA was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of Special Agents from TIGTA, Criminal Investigators from the NYSDTF, and Special Agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. 

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Jarrod L. Schaeffer is in charge of the prosecution.


Jim Margolin, Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated December 16, 2019

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 19-430