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Area Attorney Admits To Tax Evasion, Failure To Pay Over Payroll Taxes

A Putnam County attorney from Fairfield County admitted to a tax evasion scheme.
A Putnam County attorney from Fairfield County admitted to a tax evasion scheme. Photo Credit: File

An area attorney has admitted to tax evasion and failure to pay over payroll taxes.

Francis O’Reilly, a Carmel attorney who lives in Danbury, pleaded guilty in White Plains federal court to one count of failing to pay over payroll taxes and one count of tax evasion for the calendar year 2015, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced.

Berman said that O’Reilly has been permitted to practice law in New York since 1989, and has been a self-employed attorney who worked out of Putnam County at the O’Reilly Law Practice.

In 2015, O’Reilly admitted to withholding payroll taxes from the salaries of some employees of his practice, but reported “substantial amounts of payroll taxes due and owing to the IRS,” Berman said. However, O’Reilly failed to pay those taxes and instead spent the withhold payroll taxes.

According to the U.S. Attorney, O’Reilly failure to pay over payroll taxes for 2015 was part of a long-running course of conduct. Between 1997 and 2018, O’Reilly failed to pay over a total of $155,771 in payroll taxes, resulting in a liability of $232,283 after interest and penalties.

In addition to failing to pay over payroll taxes to the IRS, O’Reilly also committed personal tax evasion.

“Francis O’Reilly is an attorney who has been in practice for three decades.  He certainly ought to know his obligations under the law at least as well as any non-lawyer,” Berman said. “And yet, today he admitted that he failed to pay over payroll taxes for years, and failed to report personal income and pay taxes due on that for years as well.  Now O’Reilly awaits sentencing for his crimes.”

When he is sentenced on April 22 next year, O’Reilly will face up to five years in prison on each count. As part of his plea agreement, O’Reilly has agreed to pay $801,969 in restitution to the IRS.

“Francis O’Reilly spent over two decades trying to evade his personal and business tax obligations using a multitude of schemes,” IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Jonathan Larsen said. “Not only did Mr. O’Reilly evade his own personal tax obligations, but he also stole payroll taxes collected from his own employees.  

“It is ironic that Mr. O’Reilly specialized in criminal defense, as his actions in this case are wholly criminal.  As we enter the beginning of the tax filing season, it’s important to remember the consequences associated with tax fraud and tax evasion. Today’s guilty plea demonstrates to Mr. O’Reilly and all other criminals that these types of offenses will not be tolerated.”

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