RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Ridgefield resident Louis Vucci Jr. pleaded guilty to evading nearly $200,000 in federal taxes over a five-year period when he was CEO of a food distribution company, according to a U.S. District Attorney release.
Vucci, 44, made the guilty plea Oct. 3 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith in Hartford.
Vucci pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant on Dec. 23. He faces a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of up to $390,000. He has also agreed to pay back taxes and applicable interest and penalties.
From 2005 through 2009, Vucci was president and CEO of Diamond Ranch Foods, a publicly traded company that sold and distributed meat products in the New York area, according to court documents and statements.
In pleading guilty, he admitted to underreporting his income by $112,310 in 2005, $109,473 in 2006, $174,300 in 2007, $187,704 in 2008, and $95,126 in 2009.
The unreported income consisted of weekly paychecks of $2,500 that were made payable to Vucci’s spouse, who did not work for for the firm, and deposited into a bank account in his spouse’s name.
Also, in 2008 and 2009, Vucci had one of the firm’s customers pay him for purchases with blank checks, which he then completed and deposited into his personal bank account. The checks totaled $26,236 in 2008 and $65,387 in 2009.
In addition, large cash deposits totaling $16,100 in 2008 and $25,020 in 2009 were made into Vucci's personal bank accounts. These deposits were cash payments from another DRF customer for DRF sales to the customer.
Vucci’s federal individual income tax returns reported income of $19,590 in 2005, $12,500 in 2006, $12,000 in 2007, $30,000 in 2008, $125,202 in 2009. The reported low income from 2005 to 2008 automatically qualified Vucci for the Earned Income Credit, yielding refunds rather than taxes owed.
The total tax loss to the government from 2005 to 2009 was $196,425.
From mid-2005 to mid-2007, Vucci and his spouse rented a home in Greenwich for $8,500 per month, had car expenses of more than $1,000 per month, and paid a housekeeper for about 20 hours per week. In 2007, Vucci purchased a house in Ridgefield for $975,000 and continued with the car payments.