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Man faces prison time in false tax returns case

IRS investigation reveals defendant underreported earnings for three years

By Alex Bridges — abridges@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG — A Winchester man could face prison time and fines for underreporting three years of income on federal tax forms, according to U.S. authorities.

John Lanzetta pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg on Monday to one count of willfully making and subscribing a return which he knew contains false information. Lanzetta entered a plea agreement reached between his counsel, William A. “Beau” Bassler, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeb Terrien.

The single count sought by authorities without a grand jury charged Lanzetta with filing the return for the 2009 tax year on Feb. 6, 2010.

A conviction on such charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in a federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

An investigation by agents with the Internal Revenue Service revealed Lanzetta underreported his earnings on 1040 individual income tax return form for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 by $259,844, according to a statement of facts filed in the case.

The investigation revealed Lanzetta applied for a home loan in August 2006 and on a form with the application he claimed to have earned $81,000 in wages for 2006, according to the statement. Lanzetta applied for a vehicle loan in mid-December 2007 and claimed to have earned $60,000 in wages for that year. The defendant then applied for a home loan in late December 2008 and claimed to have earned $66,000 that year.
He applied for a home loan in late January 2009 and claimed to have earned more than $80,000 in wages that year.

However, his IRS tax returns state he earned $35,993 in 2007, $21,170 in 2008 and $40,445 in 2009, according to the statement of facts. The investigation revealed he earned $91,911 in 2007, $120,555 in 2008 and $144,986 in 2009.

Investigators with the IRS began the probe in August 2010 by executing a search warrant and seizing sales papers, cell phones, a video recorder, receipts, checks and other documents at Pro Audio, 2014 S. Loudoun St., Winchester, according to court records. Agents also searched and seized items from Milano’s Ristorante & Bar, 107 W. Boscawen St., Winchester; and the residence Lanzetta bought in 2007 at 307 Colin Court in Frederick County. They also searched a Hummer H2 and a Honda Pilot.