New York Accountant, Mes G. Guerra Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Charge
(STL.News) John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Ramsey E. Covington, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in New England, announced that JAMES G. GUERRA, 58, of Dix Hills, New York, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden to a federal tax offense.
Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the court proceeding occurred via videoconference.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Guerra worked as an accountant for Bruno DeFabio, an owner of several pizza restaurants in Connecticut and New York, including Pinocchio Pizza LLC, doing business as Pinocchio Pizza in New Canaan, Connecticut; Top Oven Restaurant Corp., doing business as Pinocchio Pizza in Wilton, Connecticut; DiFabio Brothers Pizza Corp., doing business as Amore Pizza in Scarsdale, New York; Odell Pizza, Inc., doing business as Amore Cucina and Bar in Stamford, Connecticut; Nepperhan Restaurants Group, Inc., doing business as ReNapoli Pizza, in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, and Homefield Restaurant Corp., doing business as Pinocchio Pizza in Pound Ridge, New York.
DiFabio and his businesses engaged in a practice whereby cash was removed from the cash registers and not deposited into the restaurants’ operating bank accounts, and Guerra knew that DiFabio had a practice of paying his employees in cash. Although Guerra was aware that DiFabio was failing to collect required withholding taxes from his employees and, in turn, not paying over these taxes to the IRS, Guerra reviewed and approved DiFabio’s quarterly tax returns that DiFabio subsequently signed and filed with the IRS.
Guerra pleaded guilty to one count of willful failure to collect and pay over withholding taxes, and offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. A sentencing date is not scheduled.
Guerra is released pending sentencing.
On October 25, 2018, DiFabio pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to file false income tax returns and payroll tax returns. When he pleaded guilty, he agreed that the loss to the IRS in income taxes and employment taxes for the 2013 through 2015 tax years was $816,954.
On September 24, 2018, DiFabio’s business partner in some of his restaurants, Steven Cioffi, pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return.
On June 4, 2019, Idalecia Lopes Santos, a bookkeeper who worked for DiFabio, pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion.
DiFabio, Cioffi and Santos await sentencing.
This investigation is being conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.