Monmouth County Brother and Sister Arrested for Conspiring to Evade Payment of $1.5 Million in Payroll Taxes

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

TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, brother and sister were arrested today on charges of tax evasion, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Enrico Cifelli, 51, of Holmdel, New Jersey, and Michelle Bocchieri, 42, of Matawan, New Jersey, were each charged by indictment on March 3, 2022, with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Cifelli is additionally charged with one count of evasion of payment of payroll taxes, four counts of failure to pay over payroll taxes, and one count of evasion of assessment of income tax. Cifelli and Bocchieri were arrested today and made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois H. Goodman via videoconference. Cifelli was released on a $500,000 unsecured appearance bond and Bocchieri on a $250,000 unsecured appearance bond. Arraignment is scheduled for April 4, 2022, by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From 2013 through October 2020, Cifelli and Bocchieri, who are siblings, conspired to evade the payment of more than $1.5 million in payroll taxes, penalties, and interest that Cifelli owed the IRS. Cifelli’s tax liability stemmed from the unpaid payroll taxes of two companies that he controlled: Cifelli Disposal Inc., a waste disposal business, and LBAB LLC. Cifelli failed to pay the vast majority of payroll taxes for Cifelli Disposal for the years 2004 through 2008 and for LBAB for the years 2009 through 2015, resulting in more than $1.5 million in taxes, penalties, and interest. 

To avoid paying the IRS and give the false impression that Cifelli lacked the ability to pay his back taxes, Cifelli and Bocchieri conspired to have Bocchieri fund Cifelli’s lifestyle through an entity she nominally owned, but Cifelli controlled. For instance, Bocchieri caused her company to pay the down payment, mortgage, and other expenses for Cifelli’s personal residence.

Cifelli submitted a false Offer in Compromise to the IRS in June 2016, making multiple misrepresentations and material omissions of his assets and household income, while offering to settle his tax debt for pennies on the dollar.

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Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss to any person, whichever is greatest.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the Criminal Division in Camden.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.