Steven Cioffi, 32, of Stamford, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty on Monday before US District Judge Victor Bolden in Bridgeport to a federal tax offense.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Cioffi owned 50 percent of Nepperhan Restaurants Group, Inc, doing business as ReNapoli Pizza, in Old Greenwich, and Pinocchio Pizza in Pound Ridge, NY.
Cioffi also owned 25 percent of Odell Pizza, Inc, doing business as Amore Cucina and Bar in Stamford.
Cioffi’s business partner owned the other interests in these entities, as well as other pizza restaurants.
Cioffi and others in the businesses engaged in a practice whereby cash was removed from the cash register and not deposited into the restaurant’s operating bank account.
The businesses’ outside bookkeeper and accountant used the bank records to determine business gross receipts.
When cash was removed from the register and not deposited into the business bank account, the cash would not be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
Cioffi also knew that certain employees had their wages paid in cash, and that a certain number of the employees were paid either a portion or the entirety of their wages “off the books.”
By paying various expenses in cash and “off the books,” Cioffi, his business partner and others facilitated the manipulation of net income reported to the IRS and the underpayment of withholding taxes to the IRS.
As a result of the scheme, the loss to the IRS in income taxes and employment taxes for the 2013 through 2015 tax years was $122,177.59.
Cioffi pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of three years, a fine of up to $250,000, and full restitution to the IRS.
A sentencing date is not scheduled. Cioffi is released on a $40,000 bond pending sentencing.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Christopher Schmeisser.
The guilty plea was announced on Tuesday by John Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in New England.