Syracuse Entrepreneur Sentenced to Prison for 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, age 61, formerly of Syracuse, was sentenced today in federal court in Utica to 2 years in prison after previously pleading guilty to one felony count of willfully failing to pay federal payroll taxes, announced United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Thomas Fattorusso, 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, 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. As revealed at sentencing, his personal expenditures with the money he withheld from the IRS included three luxury vehicles, a condominium in Arizona, and several international vacations. In total, Whittles failed to pay approximately $617,843 in payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service between 2016 and 2019.

As part of the sentence, United States District Judge David N. Hurd ordered Whittles to serve 3 years on supervised release after he completes his two-year term of imprisonment; to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $617,843; and to pay a fine of $10,000.

This case was investigated by IRS-CI, and it was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Perry and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Beaty.