Connecticut pizza restaurant owner sentenced to prison for filing false tax returns
The owner of both Connecticut and New York pizza restaurants was sentenced to prison for tax offenses, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Steven Cioffi, 35, of Trumbull was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport 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, Cioffi owned 50% of Nepperhan Restaurants Group, Inc., doing business as ReNapoli Pizza, in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, and Pinocchio Pizza in Pound Ridge, New York.
He also owned 25% of Odell Pizza, Inc., doing business as Amore Cucina and Bar in Stamford, Connecticut. Cioffi’s business partner, Bruno DiFabio, owned the other interests in these entities, as well as other pizza restaurants.
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. Judge Bolden ordered Cioffi to make full restitution.
On Sept. 24, 2018, Cioffi pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return.
Cioffi was released on a $40,000 bond but is required to report to prison on Aug. 2, 2021.