Ipswich contractor pleads guilty to $1.8M payroll tax scheme

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Dec. 3—BOSTON — An Ipswich man who owned and operated numerous Massachusetts businesses pleaded guilty Thursday in connection with charges that he manipulated his payroll to avoid paying taxes, according to federal prosecutors.

George Vasiliades, 58, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of failure to collect, account for and pay over federal employment taxes; 17 counts of aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns; and one count of making a false statement to the Social Security Administration, according to a press statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs scheduled sentencing for March 24. Vasiliades was initially indicted in September 2018.

Prosecutors say that Vasiliades operated several businesses, including Alpine Property Services, Boston Central Management, Delta Labor Company, Olympic Painting & Roofing and Turnpike General Contracting. Between 2008 and 2013, he concealed the true size of his companies' payroll from the Internal Revenue Service.

Among other methods, prosecutors say, Vasiliades directed certain employees to create shell corporations and then paid employees through these corporations as if they were independent contractors. He also paid some employees, including those who were not U.S. citizens and not authorized to work in the United States, from bank accounts that were not connected to his corporate payroll reporting software and, as a result, would not be reported as wages to the IRS.

For one non-citizen employee, Vasiliades paid wages using the name and Social Security number of a U.S. citizen employee.

In total, Vasiliades' scheme resulted in more than $1.8 million in tax losses, the statement said.

The charges of failure to collect, account for and pay over federal employment taxes and making a false statement to the Social Security Administration each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.

The charges of aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns each provide for a sentence of up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.

Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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