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NJ Construction Company Owner Charged with Tax and Bankruptcy Fraud

November 02, 2022

A federal grand jury recently charged the owner of a New Jersey construction company with tax crimes and bankruptcy fraud.

Landing, NJ Man Charged with Tax and Bankruptcy Fraud

The indictment, unsealed on October 20th, charged Zeki Donuk of Landing, NJ, with tax evasion, failure to pay employment taxes, making false statements in bankruptcy, and aiding in the filing of false tax returns. Donuk ran a construction business under the name Titan Builders LLC, which later changed its name to Titan Steel Construction LLC. Some of the allegations contained in the indictment include:

  • From 2016 through 2019, Donuk cashed checks payable to Titan in his personal account rather than into the business’s bank accounts. Donuk then failed to report the cashed checks either as gross receipts on Titan’s tax returns or as income on his personal tax returns. 
  • From Q3 2016 through Q3 2017, Donuk failed to account, collect, or pay employment taxes on behalf of his employees, and did not file quarterly employment tax returns on behalf of Titan.
  • In 2019, Donuk made false statements in filings in his bankruptcy case, including concealing his ownership of a vacation property in Pennsylvania, failing to disclose his signatory authority for certain bank accounts, not listing tax debts he owed to the IRS, and failing to report his operation of the Titan business.

If convicted, Donuk faces up to five years for each count of tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud, and employment tax violations plus a maximum penalty of three years on each count of aiding in the filing of false tax returns. His sentence could also include a period of supervised release and pay both restitution, and monetary fines. 

What Are Tax and Bankruptcy Fraud Crimes?

Under New Jersey state law and federal law, examples of tax fraud crimes include:

  • Willful failure to pay income tax, which includes intentionally failing to pay owed taxes, intentionally failing to file an income tax return, intentionally failing to report all income, and willfully making false or fraudulent claims on tax returns
  • Failing to file an accurate tax return
  • Failure to account, withhold/collect, and pay employment/payroll taxes
  • Fraudulently obtaining a tax refund
  • Fraudulent use of fraudulent offshore tax schemes
  • Aiding and abetting tax fraud

Examples of bankruptcy fraud under federal law include:

  • Concealing assets
  • Concealing a property transfer
  • Using false identity information
  • Filing for bankruptcy in multiple jurisdictions
  • Making a fraudulent representation in a bankruptcy petition or filing
  • Withholding or destroying financial documents

What Are the Penalties for a Tax or Bankruptcy Fraud Conviction?

Engaging in tax fraud under New Jersey law may result in a disorderly persons (misdemeanor) charge which carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail, or more frequently in an indictable offense (felony) charge that may result in one or more years in prison. A conviction for federal fraud carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a possible fine of up to $100,000. In addition to incarceration and fines, convicted individuals may be ordered to pay owed taxes, penalties, and interest. 

Under federal law, any act of bankruptcy fraud carries a sentence of up to five years in federal prison, plus potential fines and restitution. In addition, engaging in fraud in a bankruptcy proceeding may lead to the dismissal of the case and a ban on filing future bankruptcy petitions for a certain period.

Contact an Experienced Moorestown Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Tax Fraud Charges in New Jersey

Were you arrested or charged with tax fraud in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The Law Offices of Michele Finizio have represented clients charged with tax fraud in Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, Willingboro, Pemberton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 230-0374 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 9 E. Main St., Moorestown, NJ 08057, as well as offices located in Cherry Hill.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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