Town Finance Director Sentenced for Embezzling Tax Crime

By June 30, 2015Tax Crimes, Tax Fraud

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.