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Norwalk Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Evasion

Underreported more than $94,000 in income for husband's landscaping business in 2003, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut says.

Norwalk resident Renee Lamar Joseph pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of filing a false federal income tax return, according to a news release from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, David B. Fein.

Fein said Joseph, 38, of 235 Grumman Ave., made her guilty plea before Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the release says, Joseph was the bookkeeper for Joseph Landscaping and Masonry (“JLM”), a sole proprietorship landscaping and masonry business at 10 Tito Ct. owned and operated by her husband.

It says Joseph's responsibilities included handling JLM’s billing, receiving payments, and recording payments in the business' accounting software, and providing tax related information to the business' tax return preparers.

On April 15, 2004, the release continues, Joseph signed and filed a false joint 2003 tax return, Form 1040, that reported JLM’s Schedule C business receipts as $221,621 when, in fact, the business receipts for calendar year 2003 were approximately $315,949. Also, instead of providing her tax preparers with bank statements or information from the business’s accounting software, Joseph provided summaries, which she created and adjusted, that substantially understated the business’s income.

In pleading guilty, the release says, Joseph also acknowledged that she told an accountant assisting her in an IRS audit in 2006 that she had “bad bookkeeping ethics.”

Underhill scheduled sentencing for November 8, 2012, at which time Joseph faces a maximum term of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

As part of the resolution of the case, Joseph agreed to make restitution
in the amount of $88,095, plus penalties and interest, for the tax years 2002 through 2004.  She also agreed to meet and cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service concerning any outstanding tax obligations on behalf of JLM for payroll taxes and any unfiled tax returns for the period 2002 to 2010.

The case is being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Divison of the IRS and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter S. Jongbloed.

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