The owner of a Teaneck landscaping business pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to failing to pay and withhold payroll taxes through off the books payments to his employees, the Internal Revenue Service said.
Park Ridge resident Michael Florio admitted paying “numerous” employees who did not have valid social security numbers for work in 2007 and 2008 at Florio and Sons Environmental Services, Inc, formerly Florio Landscape Contractors, the IRS said. Florio paid these workers in cash, checks payable to cash, or checks made payable directly to the employees.
Florio made cash payments to employees totaling around $1.1 million in 2007 and 2008, the IRS said. For the tax quarters ending March 31, 2007 and in December 2008, he failed to pay and account for $174,284 in payroll taxes.
“Paying employees in cash to evade employment taxes is a crime,” Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn S. Zuniga, of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Newark, said. “Those employers who practice this method of paying salaries will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Florio could face a maximum of five years in prison and fines. Sentencing is scheduled for June 26.
Special agents from the IRS Criminal Investigations office in Newark worked on the case, along with federal prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.