Accountant For Restaurant Owner In Westchester, Fairfield Counties Admits To Federal Tax Charge

A Long Island accountant who worked for a pizzeria owner with locations in Fairfield and Westchester counties is facing prison time after he admitted to tax offenses.

Pinocchio Pizza in New Canaan

Pinocchio Pizza in New Canaan

Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

Suffolk County resident James Guerra, age 58, of Dix Hills, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of willful failure to collect and pay over withholding taxes following his arrest for turning a blind eye to his boss failing to pay taxes.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham said that Guerra worked as an accountant for Bruno DeFabio, who owned these restaurants in Westchester and Fairfield counties:

  • Pinocchio Pizza LLC, doing business as Pinocchio Pizza in New Canaan;
  • Top Oven Restaurant Corp., doing business as Pinocchio Pizza in Wilton;
  • Odell Pizza, Inc., doing business as Amore Cucina and Bar in Stamford;
  • Nepperhan Restaurants Group, Inc., doing business as ReNapoli Pizza, in Old Greenwich;
  • Homefield Restaurant Corp., doing business as Pinocchio Pizza in Pound Ridge;
  • DiFabio Brothers Pizza Corp., doing business as Amore Pizza in Scarsdale.

Durham said that DiFabio and his businesses engaged in a practice where cash was removed from the registers and not deposited into the restaurants’ operating bank accounts, and Guerra knew that DiFabio had a practice of paying his employees in cash. 

Although Guerra was aware that DiFabio was failing to collect required withholding taxes from his employees and, in turn, not paying over these taxes to the IRS, Guerra reviewed and approved DiFabio’s quarterly tax returns that DiFabio subsequently signed and filed with the IRS.

Guerra is released pending his sentencing, where he will face up to five years in prison.

On Oct. 25, 2018, DiFabio pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to file false income tax returns and payroll tax returns. As part of his guilty plea, DiFabio agreed that the loss to the IRS in income taxes and employment taxes for the 2013 through 2015 tax years was $816,954, Durham said.

On Sept. 24, 2018, DiFabio’s business partner in some of his restaurants, Steven Cioffi, pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return. 

On Sept. 24, 2019, Idalecia Lopes Santos, a bookkeeper who worked for DiFabio, pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion.

DiFabio, Cioffi and Santos await sentencing.

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