Stamford Mason Sentenced to Federal Prison for Structuring Cash Transactions to Evade Paying Taxes
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 13, 2012|
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that JOSEPH ROMANELLO, 46, of Stamford, was sentenced on Friday, February 10, by Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for illegally structuring cash withdrawals to evade reporting income on his federal tax returns for the years 2003 and 2004. ROMANELLO pleaded guilty to offense on February 10, 2011.
Federal law requires all financial institutions to file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) for currency transactions that exceed $10,000. To evade the filing of a CTR, individuals will often structure their currency transactions so that no single transaction exceeds $10,000. Structuring involves the repeated depositing or withdrawal of amounts of cash less than the $10,000 limit, or the splitting of a cash transaction that exceeds $10,000 into smaller cash transactions in an effort to avoid the reporting requirements. Even if the deposited funds are derived from a legitimate means, financial transactions conducted in this manner are still in violation of federal criminal law.
According to court documents and statements made in court, ROMANELLO earned income by providing masonry and landscaping services to Connecticut residents. Between approximately January 2003 and March 2005, ROMANELLO structured cash transactions of approximately $2 million by routinely withdrawing cash from various bank accounts he maintained in amounts at or slightly below $10,000 to prevent the financial institutions from filing CTRs. For the years 2003 and 2004, ROMANELLO did not file any federal income tax returns, and he failed to pay a total of more than $1 million in income taxes during those two years.
Today, Judge Thompson ordered ROMANELLO to file tax returns for the years 2003 and 2004, and to pay back taxes, penalties and interest in the amount of $2,736,885.69.
This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Richard J. Schechter.