Syracuse Entrepreneur Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Dean Whittles, 61, formerly of Syracuse, New York, waived indictment and pled guilty yesterday in federal court in Utica to one felony count of willful failure to pay federal payroll taxes, announced United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Thomas Fattorusso, Executive Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), New York Field Office.

From 2016 through 2019, Whittles was the sole owner of multiple businesses in and around Syracuse, New York:  DJ’s on the Hill and DJ’s on the Boulevard; the 317 Corporation (restaurant); and Dejon’s Hair Design, with salons in Cicero, Westvale and Skaneateles. Whittles no longer owns or operates any of the businesses at issue and recently moved to Tucson, Arizona.

In pleading guilty yesterday, Whittles admitted that he failed to make payroll tax payments to the government with respect to his employees, including for Social Security and Medicare taxes, even though he withheld such taxes from his employees’ paychecks. Instead, he used the money withheld from employees to pay for business and personal expenses. In total, Whittles failed to pay approximately $617,843 in payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service between 2016 and 2019. As part of his plea agreement, Whittles agreed to repay $617,843 to the IRS.

The charge to which Whittles pled guilty yesterday carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. Whittles will be sentenced on June 22, 2022 by United States District Judge David N. Hurd.

This case is being investigated by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Perry.