23 August, 2004 LAWFUEL – Best for legal news, law news, law articles – see LawFuel.com Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Eileen J. O’Connor, Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division, United States Department of Justice; and Brian J. Wimpling, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), Criminal Investigation, announced today that on August 20, 2004, defendant, Laurie Gregoriou (“L. Gregoriou”), was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley, in West Palm Beach, Florida, to a term of fifteen (15) months’ imprisonment for L. Gregoriou’s conviction for conspiring against the IRS, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Judge Hurley also sentenced L. Gregoriou, who previously pleaded guilty to the referenced charge, to a term of two (2) years’ supervised release and ordered her to pay $421,514.13 in restitution to the IRS.
L. Gregoriou and co-defendant, John Gregoriou (“J. Gregoriou”), her husband, were charged in an Indictment with the conspiracy charge. In addition to the conspiracy charge, J. Gregoriou was charged in the Indictment with one (1) count of tax evasion, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201. J. Gregoriou, who is awaiting sentencing, previously pleaded guilty to both counts of the Indictment. The maximum statuary penalty for each count is five (5) years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
According to statements made in court, Gregoriou Publishing, Inc. (“GPI”), a company that published magazines listing foreclosures, failed to pay over to the IRS more than $200,000 in taxes withheld from its employees. The tax amount was based on approximately $1.1 million in income from approximately one hundred (100) employees between April, 1992, and December, 1993. When a company fails to pay over withholding taxes, the person responsible for making the payments is subject to a “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty” equal to the amount of the withheld taxes, plus interest. The person responsible for the payment is any officer of the corporation or anyone connected to the corporation that has access to the corporation’s finances. J. Gregoriou, the sole shareholder and President of GPI, was the person who signed off on the company’s quarterly tax returns and deemed by the IRS as subject to the “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty.”
As of the date of the Indictment, the total owed by J. Gregoriou on this debt was approximately $420,000. The defendants conspired to evade payment of this debt by, among other things, placing J. Gregoriou’s assets, income, and businesses in nominee names, including L. Gregoriou’s name and the names of both of their parents.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn Bell and Trial Attorney Shelly Goldklang, Tax Division, United States Department of Justice.