A Trumbull man was sentenced on Tuesday to 30 days of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for a federal tax offense.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Steven Cioffi, 35, owned 50% of Nepperhan Restaurants Group, Inc, doing business as ReNapoli Pizza, in Old Greenwich, CT, and Pinocchio Pizza in Pound Ridge, NY.
He also owned 25% of Odell Pizza, Inc, doing business as Amore Cucina and Bar in Stamford.
Cioffi’s business partner, Bruno DiFabio, owned the other interests in these entities, as well as other pizza restaurants.
According to the US Dept of Justice US Attorney District of Connecticut Cioffi and DiFabio 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 and DiFabio 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, DiFabio and others facilitated the manipulation of net income reported to the IRS and the underpayment of withholding taxes to the IRS.
The loss to the IRS in income taxes and employment taxes for the 2013 through 2015 tax years attributable to Cioffi’s conduct in this scheme was $122,177.59.
US District Judge Victor Bolden in Bridgeport presided over the sentencing. He ordered Cioffi to make full restitution.
On September 24, 2018, Cioffi pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return.
Cioffi, who is released on a $40,000 bond, is required to report to prison on August 2, 2021.
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 tax loss attributable to his conduct in the scheme was $816,954.
On June 4, 2019, Idalecia Lopes Santos, the businesses’ bookkeeper, pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion, and on January 25, 2021, James Guerra, the businesses’ accountant, pleaded guilty to one count of willful failure to collect and pay over withholding taxes.
DiFabio and Guerra await sentencing. On March 30, 2021, Lopes Santos was sentenced to three years of probation.
This investigation has been conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.