Hudson County defense attorney pleads guilty to tax evasion

HUDSON COUNTY – According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a defense attorney who has not filed a personal income tax return since 2000 admitted Wednesday to committing tax crimes in connection with income he received from his Jersey City law practice.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced that Francis Cutruzzula, 48, of River Vale, pleaded guilty to charges of two counts of tax evasion and one count of failure to file a tax return. He entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court.
Cutruzzula most recently was representing a Weehawken mom who allegedly abandoned her baby near Weehawken High School. Four years ago, he represented a businesswoman who was said to be connected to former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, during an investigation of James.
“Cutruzzula intentionally ducked his legal obligations, hiding personal income in a company account and then spending it on custom suits and travel,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “It is fitting that, as part of his punishment, Cutruzzula will forfeit the privilege of practicing law.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court: A 1988 graduate of Seton Hall Law School, Cutruzzula was admitted to practice law in New Jersey and was the sole proprietor of the Jersey City law practice of Francis S. Cutruzzula, P.A. Cutruzzula is also the sole owner of FSC Imports, Inc., a domestic corporation purportedly in the business of importing water from Italy. FSC has not filed a corporate income
tax return since it was incorporated in 2002.
The tax evasion charges to which Cutruzzula pleaded guilty each carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The failure to file charge carries a maximum potential penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Dec. 20, 2011.
As part of his guilty plea, Cutruzzula has agreed to a voluntary lifetime disbarment from the Bar of the State of New Jersey and has confirmed this by signing a Disbarment by Consent form, which will be filed with the New Jersey Supreme Court. This consent to disbarment is an absolute bar to Cutruzzulla ever seeking reinstatement to the Bar of the State of New Jersey, and if accepted by the Supreme Court, will result in an order of disbarment and the assessment of disciplinary costs.

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