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Teaneck Landscaper Admits Avoiding Taxes with ‘Off the Books’ Payments

Employees didn't have valid social security numbers, IRS says.

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.  

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DMAB6395 March 27, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Wow his parents live up the street from us-& we know him. My husband grew up with him & he did our neighbors lawns & snow removal. Not that this means anything for what he did-I just hope he doesn't have to go to jail for this & just has to pay fines.
A Teanecker March 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM
If you didn't have personal connections, would you feel the same? This guy raised his rates a crazy amount this past summer! This story makes me even more annoyed at the company, and I was already annoyed for multiple reasons!
Yoni March 28, 2012 at 12:38 PM
A Teanecker, So he should go to jail becausehe raised his rates too much? News flash: All gardeners hire illegal immigrants. How do you think they can charge only $26 a week? You don't like it cut your own grass.
Karin Kiesow-Irvine March 28, 2012 at 01:03 PM
yoni- not all landscapers higher illegals, mine doesn't :) and FYI he should go to jail not for raising his rates but for being a thief!
Lucia Melendez March 28, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Karin are you sure your landscaper doesn't hire illegals? you better check twice!! I think this guy is just making a living, and anyway nobody want's to do this kind of work, he cut my grass I think he's a great person and he deserve a second change.
Karin Kiesow-Irvine March 28, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Lucia- positive :) checked twice ...and it is ok to hire ILLEGALs (those people breaking our laws by he way) so Florio can make money? Of course people want to do the work--but they want to be paid for their work--i know tons of HS kids that would jump at the chance to do this work and get paid properly for it. THis guy may be "great" but he broke the law and should be punished for it! I avoid hiring people to work for me that break laws by hiring illegals...there are plenty of Americans that are out of work and can use the jobs instead of giving them to illegals who work for pennies! Florio more then likely used illegals cause he was greedy--wanted more money in his pocket and who are illegals gonna complain to for being paid pennies on the dollar!?
Lucia Melendez March 28, 2012 at 01:47 PM
99.9 % of landscapers use this kind of help, no american workers want's to do this kind of work, the goverment should go after all landscapers, construction owners, restaurants, factories, etc. The whole country will fall apart !!! and everybody is going to have to cut their own grass. Karin if I was you I check your landscaper I bet his help is illegal is not such thing as legal landscapers!!!
Karin Kiesow-Irvine March 28, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Lucia- Once again, I have checked and nope all his landscapers are LEGAL and golly gee they even speak ENGLISH with no accents! I agree I think our government should enforce or immigration laws...My husband works in the food industry and guess what all their workers are run through the system to see if they are LEGAL and golly gee they all are! Lucia-it is the mentality and views that you have that will make this country fall apart...we have laws for a reason..enforce them! This country will not fall apart if they are enforced and guess what with such a large obese population people cutting their own grass may not be a bad thing :) And again Lucia, there are such things as LEGAL landscapers sadly people like you do not care and will hire anybody regardless if they are breaking the law or not...take the time to research things and you may be surprised! Now I am done..I think I have clarified it enough for you ...that my landscapers are all legal, english speaking young men! I think our immigration laws should be enforced and not every food service worker, construction worker is illegal...ya know LEGAL citizens and LEGAL immigrants do work these jobs!
Karin Kiesow-Irvine March 28, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Lucia--last point..because you the consumer want "cheap" services, landscapers, contractors etc. break the law to hire illegals so they can under pay them in 99.9% of the cases and they in turn can make more money..greed is a horrible thing!
Portia March 28, 2012 at 02:39 PM
all illegals do not work for cheap,they want raises very often and they bring in friends to work with them when one walks so does the others,makes you wonder whos getting over on who. Can someone please tell me why is it that american buss have to hire all races and the chinese and indians,spanish buss only hire there own?
Linda V.K. March 28, 2012 at 05:36 PM
If you would kick out all the illegals, then americans WOULD take those jobs! Florio was only doing what 85% of the companies are doing today-hiring illegals. Florio was probably reported by one of his CHEAP customers who wanted a break or had a problem that went unresolved. If they -the IRS went after him, I have a list of plenty of companies they can go to also! But they wont! Ship out the illegals-11 million bloodsuckers ripping off our country. Leave Florio alone!
DMAB6395 March 28, 2012 at 05:39 PM
He's not a angel & yes I would feel the same way if I didn't have "personal connections". He's had it rough the last few years & no I'm not going to put his personal business on here for you or anyone else. I just don't think he deserves to go to jail-he should pay the money back that he didn't pay & to pay fines. My husband cuts our grass so I don't have a connection with him that way & yes he raised his prices etc. If you don't like him or are annoyed with him for multiple reasons than you have two choices-you could fire him & hire someone else or you can fire him & do it yourself.
Karin Kiesow-Irvine March 28, 2012 at 05:52 PM
So beacuse 85% of the companies are breaking the law it should be ok!? WTH! And FYI the IRS does go after people and companies--call them and you'll even get a reward :)
Robert J. March 29, 2012 at 02:05 AM
I've known Mike Florio all his life,he grew up with my kids.He is one of the most honest & hard working business owners I know.Everybody makes mistakes,let him pay his back taxes & be done with it.Unfortunately,most contractors would be out of business if not for the illegals.I think jail time is uncalled for.
Charles Kleiner March 29, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds? Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money] Croupier: Your winnings, sir. Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much. [aloud] Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!
EJ April 01, 2012 at 06:50 AM
Let him pay the back taxes and give him future monitoring and probation. Don't take him away from his family and business. Everyone needs a break the first time around. I am sure he paid a lot of income tax and not payroll taxes. Just my take on the situation.
chris213 April 19, 2012 at 12:19 AM
what about the 20 other years he has been in business hiring illegal? He will make out pretty well if he only gets 5 years in jail.... And lets not forget what is probably going on with his sanitation business. Not all landscapers hire illegals. Mine refuses too. Let me know and I will get you their contact info if you would like to support a fully legitamate landscaper. I doubt he raised his prices much more than what they should be. He was only able to offer cutthrought pricing because of the illegals.
DMAB6395 April 20, 2012 at 08:08 AM
chris213~ oh you better believe the government went back to the day that he started his business. There's no way they are going to let him go if it went back further. He most likely only did those years & that's what they are getting him for. He's paying the price for his stupid mistake, he may not have paid monterliy yet but he's paying all the same. Like I said before he's a good man, that made a mistake, yes he knew it was wrong & did for whatever reasons he did. I'm not saying what he did or why he did it right, he should have to pay for it. I just think he should pay the money he didn't pay to begin with & whatever fines the government thinks is fair. Sorry to say it will probably put him out of business. I don't think taking him away from his family & going to jail for his only offense is right.
Lori Florio November 21, 2012 at 06:09 PM
None of you know the truth about Mr. Florio and you never ever will. Trust me when I say that he did not suffer over the past few years and he knew exactly what he was doing. Right now it's about keeping a roof over his wife's head - the woman he married only months after his wife passed away. Not an innocent folks - deserves everything that he gets.
DMAB6395 November 22, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Well I agree with you, Lori, one on thing NO ONE knows the truth about anybody not just him. You may have the same last name & may even be related to him but that doesn't mean you know the truth either, UNLESS you helped him do it!

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