Friday, May 24, 2024

Mattapan business owner passed off purchases of gold, silver as ‘materials,’ feds say

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A 78-year-old man who co-owned a plumbing and heating supply company in Mattapan is accused of covering up purchases of more than $10 million worth of gold and silver bars with the company’s money by writing checks indicating the purchases were for “boilers” and “materials,” court documents show.

Claudio Poles, of Dorchester, faces four counts of filing false tax returns in connection with a scheme to purchase the precious metals, acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Joshua S. Levy’s office said. Court filings show Poles and federal prosecutors may have reached an agreement on a plea deal but neither Poles’ attorney nor the U.S. attorney’s office could be reached to confirm the deal.

Between 2019 and 2022, Poles hired a tax preparer to complete tax filings for the company, Economy Plumbing and Heating Supply Company. But, prosecutors say, he failed to report all of the company’s gross plumbing receipts to the tax preparer, leading the preparer to fail to report some of the business receipts on tax forms submitted under the penalty of perjury.

Poles is then accused of using the excess receipts not reported on the tax form to purchase more than $10 million worth of gold and silver from a bullion dealer, court documents show. To cover up his purchases, prosecutors say he wrote checks saying he was buying equipment for the company.

Prosecutors also accused Poles of falsely reporting losses totaling roughly $75,000 and omitting more than $8.3 million in income he received from the purchase of the bars with money from the business on tax forms between 2019 and 2022. In doing so, court documents show, he cost the IRS about $3 million in tax loss.

The charge of filing a false tax return carries a sentence of up to three years in prison, meaning Poles could face a sentence of up to 12 years if he is convicted of all four counts.

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