Barbara Heins.This article was written by
A former Greenwich resident has pleaded guilty to tax evasion in a case that federal officials say dates back to 2005, when the man rented a Greenwich home for $8,500 a month while reporting an annual income of less than $20,000, according to authorities.
In a press statement released Oct. 17, Acting United States Attorney Deirdre M. Daly said Louis Vucci Jr., 44, now a Ridgefield resident, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to evading the payment of nearly $200,000 in federal taxes over a five-year period. Vucci made the plea on Oct. 3 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith in Hartford.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from 2005 through 2009, Vucci was the president and CEO of Diamond Ranch Foods (“DRF”), a publicly-traded company in the business of selling and distributing meat products in the New York area. In pleading guilty, Vucci admitted that he underreported his income by $112,310 in 2005, $109,473 in 2006, $174,300 in 2007, $187,704 in 2008, and $95,126 in 2009.
The unreported income consisted of weekly pay checks from DRF in the amount of $2,500 that were made payable to Vucci's spouse, who did not work for DRF, and deposited into a bank account in his spouse’s name. Also, in 2008 and 2009, VUCCI had one of DRF’s customers pay him for purchases with blank checks, which checks he then completed and deposited into his personal bank account. The checks totaled $26,236 in 2008 and $65,387 in 2009.
In addition, large cash deposits totaling $16,100 in 2008 and $25,020 in 2009 were made into Vucci’s personal bank accounts. These deposits were cash payments from another DRF customer for DRF sales to the customer.
Vucci's federal individual income tax returns reported income of $19,590 in 2005, $12,500 in 2006, $12,000 in 2007, $30,000 in 2008, $125,202 in 2009. The reported low income from 2005 to 2008 automatically qualified Vucci for the Earned Income Credit yielding refunds rather than taxes owed.
The total tax loss to the government from 2005 to 2009 is $196,425.
From mid-2005 to mid-2007, Vucci and his spouse rented a home in Greenwich for $8,500 per month, had car expenses in excess of $1,000 per month, and paid a housekeeper for approximately 20 hours per week. In 2007, Vucci purchased a house in Ridgefield for $975,000 and continued on with the car payments.
Vucci pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and faces a maximum five-year prison and a $390,000 fine when he is sentenced on Dec. 23. Vucci has agreed to pay back taxes and applicable interest and penalties.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division.