A Connecticut home healthcare executive could face up to five years in prison and a $3 million fine after admitting this week that he failed to pay the Internal Revenue Service about $1.5 million in payroll taxes, the Department of Justice says.
John Durante, 50, of Old Saybrook, CT, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of tax evasion stemming from the multi-year scheme. Sentencing was set for Nov. 29 in U.S. District Court in Hartford, CT.
According to prosecutors, between 1994 and 2001, Durante operated several small healthcare businesses in Connecticut, including Special Attention Home Health Care Inc. and Special Attention Health Services, which repeatedly failed to pay corporate income and payroll taxes.
In August 2001, IRS told Durante he was liable for withholdings and tax obligations totaling $1.1 million.
Aware of his payment obligation, Durante in 2001 set up two new companies, South Central Connecticut Home & Health LLC, and Shoreline Home & Health LLC, using sham owners who didn’t know the companies existed. Durante took money from both companies to support his gambling habit, DOJ says.
From 2002 through 2004, South Central Health failed to pay taxes in the total amount of approximately $246,759. For three years, Durante hid his ownership of South Central Health and Shoreline Health to keep the money from possible IRS seizure. He withdrew more than $100,000 from Shoreline Health in checks made out to him or to cash, which he endorsed, DOJ says.
In addition to the possible prison time and the fine, Durante must pay outstanding taxes, penalties and interest totaling more than $1.5 million, DOJ says.