Williamsville Couple Pleads Guilty to Federal Money Laundering and Tax Fraud Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 17, 2009|
BUFFALO, NY—Ralph S. Guastaferro, Jr. and his wife, Karen Guastaferro, both of Williamsville, New York, pled guilty today to felony offenses before United States Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy, United States Attorney Kathleen M. Mehltretter announced. Ralph Guastaferro pled guilty to money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years and a $500,000 fine. Karen Guastaferro pled guilty to failing to collect and pay over taxes, which carries a maximum penalty of five years and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryEllen Kresse said that from November, 2004 until January, 2006, Ralph Guastaferro operated Eclipse Processing, Inc., a business which he used to launder the proceeds of telemarketing fraud. In the money laundering scheme, victims' money was deposited into bank accounts controlled by two out-of-state companies—Payment Resources International ("PRI") of Newport Beach, California, and Integrated Check Technologies ("ICT"), of Columbus, Ohio. The money was then transferred to Mr. Guastaferro's Eclipse Processing accounts, and then transferred by Mr. Guastaferro back to telemarketers in Canada, in an attempt to conceal the source of the funds. Mr. Guastaferro admitted that the total amount of the funds involved was approximately $1.2 million.
AUSA Kresse said Karen Guastaferro's guilty plea related to her ownership and operation of Eclipse Glass Tinting, Inc., a glass tinting and automotive accessory business located in Clarence, New York From 2004 through 2008, Ms. Guastaferro employed between five and seven people at the business, including herself and her husband. Although Ms. Guastaferro had a duty to collect and truthfully account for and pay over federal employment taxes for each of her employees, she lied to the IRS about how many employees she had and about how much she paid them, thus intentionally failing to account for and pay over the required federal employment taxes for those employees. The total tax loss is over $56,000.
Sentencing will be before United States District Judge William M. Skretny.
The guilty pleas were the result of an investigation by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security, under the direction of Lev Kubiak, Special Agent In Charge; the Internal Revenue Service, under the direction of Special Agent In Charge Patricia J. Haynes; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent In Charge James H. Robertson.