A tax accountant from Queens admitted to scheming clients out of more than $750,000 as part of an elaborate scheme that allowed him to live a lavish lifestyle.
Salvatore Arena, 47, pleaded guilty to defrauding clients who trusted him to prepare and pay their taxes, misappropriating $780,000 of client money for his own use over several years.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said that from January 2014 through March this year, Arena purported to offer tax services, including the preparation and payment of taxes, to clients of an accounting firm in Manhattan.
Instead of making payments on behalf of those clients, as he said he would, he diverted client funds for his own use. Arena executed the fraudulent scheme by diverting pre-payments of taxes to his own tax account and later claiming illegitimate refunds. He also misappropriated tax payments to a bank account he controlled.
As part of his guilty plea, Arena agreed to forfeit $789,195.35.
When he is sentenced on Friday, Dec. 13, Arena will face 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count each of mail fraud, money laundering and wire fraud.
“As he admitted today, Salvatore Arena defrauded his clients and the United States by misappropriating money his clients intended would be used to pay their taxes,” Berman said. “Arena now awaits sentencing for his serious crimes.”
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