Taos business owner pleads guilty to failure to pay taxes withheld from employee paychecks

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

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Diane Mariani, 66, of Taos, New Mexico, pleaded guilty on May 18 in federal court to willful failure to collect or pay over tax. Mariani will remain on conditions of release pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

According to the plea agreement and other court records, until 2015, Mariani was co-owner, operator and treasurer of Taos RPM LLC, and beginning in 2015 Mariani, was co-owner, operator, and treasurer of Mountain Resort Management, Inc., in Taos, New Mexico. Mountain Resort Management did business as Snakedance Condominiums, Bumps Market and Hondo Restaurant. Mariani was responsible for paying employees of Snakedance Condominiums and Mountain Resort Management and acknowledged in her plea that she knew she had a duty to withhold federal income taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes – collectively referred to as “trust fund taxes” – from employee paychecks. She also knew that she had a duty to report those taxes on a quarterly basis and to deposit those taxes on a regular basis.

From the first quarter of 2015 through the fourth quarter of 2018, Mariani withheld at least $203,137 in trust fund taxes from the employees she paid. Mariani admitted that she willfully failed to pay those taxes to the IRS.

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Mariani faces up to five years in prison.

IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy Peña is prosecuting the case.

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