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Former Bell Administrator To Plead Guilty

Former Bell Administrator To Plead Guilty

Robert Rizzo has agreed to plead guilty to federal tax and conspiracy charges for claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars in false deductions in order to reduce income tax on his enormous Bell salary.

Rizzo, who’s already admitted to nearly 70 state charges, faces a maximum sentence of 8 years in federal prison.

According to a plea agreement filed Thursday, Rizzo used a personal corporation to claim false corporate losses of about $409,000 between 2006 and 2009.

The agreement says Rizzo deducted another $200,000 in personal expenses by claiming they were rental property expenses.

“It is regrettable that some public officials believe they are above the law,” said IRS criminal investigations chief Richard Weber in a prepared statement.

Rizzo has agreed to file amended personal and corporate tax returns for the years in question, and has agreed to pay the actual income taxes owed plus a 75-percent fraud penalty.

The IRS estimates Rizzo’s scheme deprived the Treasury of about $300,000.

Federal prosecutors said Rizzo’s accountant, Robert J. Melcher, has already pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the filing of a false tax return. Melcher faces a maximum of 3 years in prison.

-- Eric Leonard

 

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