The 32-year-old owner of three restaurants in Northern Westchester and Fairfield County has admitted to scheming the Internal Revenue Service out of more than $122,000.
Stamford resident Steven Cioffi paid employees under the table and skimmed cash off restaurant books, according to John H. Durham, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in New England.
Cioffi owned 50 percent of Nepperhan Restaurants Group, Inc., doing business as ReNapoli Pizza, in Old Greenwich, and Pinocchio Pizza in Pound Ridge, which is now closed. He also owned 25 percent of Odell Pizza, Inc., doing business as Amore Cucina and Bar in Stamford.
As a result of the scheme, the loss to the IRS in income taxes and employment taxes for the 2013 through 2015 tax years was $122,177.59.
Cioffi pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of three years, a fine of up to $250,000, and full restitution to the IRS.
A sentencing date is not scheduled. He has been released on a $40,000 bond pending sentencing.
According to court documents and statements made in court:
- Cioffi and others in the businesses also engaged in a practice whereby cash was removed from the cash register and not deposited into the restaurant’s operating bank account.
- The businesses’ outside bookkeeper and accountant used the bank records to determine business gross receipts. When cash was removed from the register and not deposited into the business bank account, the cash would not be reported to the IRS.
- Cioffi also knew that certain employees had their wages paid in cash, and that a certain number of the employees were paid either a portion or the entirety of their wages off the books.
- By paying various expenses in cash and off the books, Cioffi, his business partner and others facilitated the manipulation of net income reported to the IRS and the underpayment of withholding taxes to the IRS.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.