NY Auto Business Owner Convicted of Filing False Tax Returns, Hiding Cash Income
Published Nov. 30, 2022
A federal jury in Central Islip, NY, on Nov. 9 returned a guilty verdict on all five counts of superseding indictment charging Lorraine Pilitz---also known as "Lorraine Christie" and "Lorraine Storms"---with illegally structuring financial transactions, corruptly obstructing the IRS and filing false tax returns.
The verdict followed a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert.
Pilitz owned and operated several automobile-related businesses on Long Island.
Financial institutions are required to file a currency transaction report (CTR) with the IRS for each transaction in excess of $10,000. As proven at trial, between 2011 and 2013, Pilitz routinely structured cash deposits to avoid the required CTR filings---depositing cash amounts just under $10,000. As a result of Pilitz’s scheme, hundreds of thousands of dollars were concealed from the IRS.
As part of the same scheme to conceal her income, Pilitz also diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars of business checks into her and her family’s personal bank accounts, maintained “off-the-books” payrolls, failed to file personal and corporate tax returns, and filed false tax returns that severely underreported her income.
Breon Peace, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Thomas Fattorusso, acting special agent-in-charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), announced the verdict.
“For years the defendant thought she could get away with hiding substantial amounts of cash and income, impeding the Internal Revenue Service, and cheating her employees, but the jury saw through the lies and has held her responsible for her actions,” said Peace. “Business owners who place greed above following the rule of law will face the consequences.”
Peace thanked the Suffolk County Police Department’s Treasury Enhanced Prosecution Program for their assistance with the case.
“Lorraine Pilitz set up a complicated scheme to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars from the IRS by grossly underreporting her income and having an ‘off-the-books’ payroll. As the investigative arm of the IRS, IRS Criminal Investigation is strategically positioned to track down all those who look to steal from the U.S. Treasury and the American public to line their own pockets,” said Fattorusso.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Burton T. Ryan Jr., Adam R. Toporovsky, Madeline O’Connor and Diane Leonardo are in charge of the prosecution with assistance from Paralegal Specialist Michael Compitello.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice