Conviction of the CPA for Conspiracy and Assisting in the Filing of False Statements Confirmed

A Boston Federal Court of Appeals upheld the jury’s conviction of a CPA for filing a false income tax return, despite the CPA’s claim that he relied on information provided by his client and the accountant of his client.

The CPA, John Nardozzi, had over 40 years of experience. He provided income tax and income tax preparation services to Brian and Mary Joyce, as well as Joyce’s law firm, Brian A. Joyce, lawyer. At the time, Brian Joyce was a senator for the state of Massachusetts. Nardozzi was convicted by a jury of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and eight counts of aiding or assisting in filing a false tax return. The appeal was based primarily on the sufficiency of the evidence.

In December 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Joyce on 113 counts, including racketeering, extortion, fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to defraud the IRS. The indictment alleged that Joyce solicited payments from companies in exchange for political favors and falsely characterized those payments as legitimate legal fees paid to Joyce’s law firm. Joyce died in September 2018, before his case went to trial.

The word “Taxes” is visible on the facade of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) headquarters in Washington, DC, United States on Friday, October 20, 2017. Photographer: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg

Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg

A month after Joyce’s indictment, on January 18, 2018, Nardozzi was indicted for his role in preparing and filing income tax returns on behalf of the Joyces and the law firm Joyce. At trial, Nardozzi’s lawyer argued that Nardozzi had relied on information provided to him by Joyce’s accountants, or directly by Joyce, and that he was “unaware” and did not not acted with criminal intent. However, the jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts. Upon conviction, Nardozzi was ordered to pay the government restitution of $ 598,363.

On appeal, Nardozzi argued that the government failed to present sufficient evidence that it knowingly conspired to defraud the United States or that it willfully aided or assisted Joyce in filing false income tax returns. He also argued that the district court erred in failing to impose a specific time frame at the time of sentencing for the payment of restitution.

The First Circuit agreed with the jury, believing that there was ample evidence on file from which the jury could have concluded that there was a conspiracy agreement between Joyce and Nardozzi. The court cited the legal principle that “a conspiracy may be based on a tacit agreement resulting from an implied employment relationship”.

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