On Oct. 8, 2014, in Sherman, Texas, Shirley Jean Emert, of Spring Branch, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $697,187 in restitution. Emert pleaded guilty in February 2014 to making and subscribing to a false tax return for the calendar year 2010. According to court documents, Emert embezzled funds from her employer in the amounts of $53,859 in 2008; $126,202 in 2009; $172,965 in 2010; and $166,254 in 2011. Emert failed to report the income on the corresponding tax year returns. Emert’s willful act of falsely reporting income on her tax returns for the years 2008 through 2011 resulted in income tax due and owing in the amount of $159,907.
On Oct. 1, 2014, in Hartford, Connecticut, Frank Mete, of Berlin, was sentenced to 41 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Mete was also ordered to make full restitution to his victim investors and pay $666,851 to the IRS. On Dec. 4, 2013, Mete pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion. According to court documents, from approximately 2009 to November 2012, Mete operated an investment fraud scheme in which he held himself out as a broker of hard money loans between investors and purported individual borrowers who were willing to borrow money at interest rates of 15 to 18 percent. In fact, there were no such borrowers. In order to induce the investors to extend loans to the purported borrowers through him as the broker, Mete created false documents using the names of the fictitious borrowers. Mete forged signatures on the checks he received from the victim investors and deposited the funds into several bank accounts he opened in the borrowers’ names. Mete defrauded investors of approximately $1,191,610 and used the funds to pay for various personal expenses. Mete also failed to file federal income tax returns from 2009 to 2012, causing a tax loss of approximately $357,324.
On Oct. 2, 2014, in Newark, New Jersey, Teresa Giudice and her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, both of Towaco, were sentenced to 15 months and 41 months in prison, respectively. Both also were sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $414,588. Both previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud by concealment of assets, bankruptcy fraud by false oaths, and bankruptcy fraud by false declarations. Giuseppe also pleaded guilty to failure to file a tax return. According to court documents, from September 2001 through September 2008, both engaged in a mail and wire fraud conspiracy in which they submitted fraudulent applications and supporting documents to lenders in order to obtain mortgages and other loans. In relation to a petition for individual bankruptcy protection, the Giudices intentionally concealed businesses they owned and income they received and provided false testimony under oath. Giuseppe admitted that during tax years 2004 through 2008, he received income totaling $996,459 but did not file tax returns for those years.
On May 22, 2015, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, David J. Bertnagel, of Thomaston, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Bertnagel was also ordered to pay $808,029 in restitution to the Town of Plymouth and cooperate with the IRS to pay all outstanding taxes, penalties and interest. On Feb. 20, 2015, Bertnagel pleaded guilty to theft from a local government receiving federal funds and making and subscribing a false tax return. According to court documents, from October 2011 through October 2014, Bertnagel was employed as the Finance Director for the Town of Plymouth. During that time period, Bertnagel issued 207 checks totaling approximately $808,030 from the Town’s payroll account to himself. Bertnagel used the embezzled funds to make mortgage payments, pay credit card bills, fund home improvement projects and purchase more than $100,000 in coins, stamps and other collectibles. He also converted more than $182,000 of the stolen funds by way of cashed checks, ATM withdrawals and money orders. In addition, Bertnagel’s federal tax returns for the 2012 and 2013 tax years failed to report any of his embezzled income, resulting in a tax loss to the government of $145,564 for those two years. Bertnagel also did not file a tax return with the IRS for the 2011 tax year.