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After pleading guilty last July in what an Internal Revenue Service investigator said was the biggest tax-evasion case the Rochester area has seen, Gates businessman John Gizzi last week drew a year’s home confinement.
Gizzi could have drawn up to a 10-year prison term. As part a plea agreement, he previously agreed to turn over $11.5 million to the federal government.
In sentencing Gizzi to home confinement, U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci cited the 65-year-old former manufacturing firm owner’s poor health and the possibility denying Gizzi access to doctors treating him for a heart condition could be fatal.
In a court brief, Gizzi’s lawyer, Rochester criminal defense attorney John Speranza, said stress over the tax evasion charges has exacerbated Gizzi’s serious heart ailments.
“(Gizzi) a self-made man who, despite humble beginnings, created a successful and productive enterprise” and had already suffered considerable “humiliation and loss of reputation associated with this investigation” should be sentenced to probation and made to do community service but should not have to suffer home confinement, Speranza wrote in the filing.
Gizzi founded and formerly headed Advantech Industries Inc., a Buffalo Road sheet metal fabrication and assembly firm; and Precise Tool & Manufacturing Inc., a local maker of machined metal parts.
His criminal charges in part stemmed from a multiyear scheme in which he hid hefty profits from scrap-metal sales, keeping large amounts of cash in safes in his home.
Gizzi resigned from the manufacturing firms and gave up his interest in the businesses after federal investigators launched a probe of the former factory owner’s activities, an attorney representing Advantech and Precise Tool told the RBJ last year. Both firms, which rely in part on government contracts, cooperated with investigators, the attorney said.
Federal prosecutors outlined the scrap-metal scheme in a civil forfeiture action filed a week before Gizzi’s July 2013 court date to face criminal charges.
In the criminal case, Gizzi pled guilty to charges, including falsely claiming losses on his personal federal tax returns, understating income for the S corporation of which he was the controlling shareholder and writing off the full cost of constructing a commercial structure in a single tax year instead of taking depreciation over several years as the tax code requires.
Gizzi cooperated with authorities. But he did so only after it became clear that the feds had evidence sufficient to convict him, said William Hochul Jr., U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York said in an interview at the time.
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