As part of a plea deal struck last year with the government, Balbo Construction owner Gerard Castor was sentenced this week to a one year suspended prison term, a $10,000 fine and 200 community service hours for failure to collect or pay taxes.
Castor, along with former Internal Revenue Bureau director Louis “Lolo” Willis, turned himself in last February after being arrested on one charge each of tax evasion, fraud and perjury.
Both Castor and Willis initially plead not guilty on all charges, but Castor later took a deal that allowed him to plead guilty on one count of tax evasion in exchange for the reduced sentence.
Without the deal, Castor was looking at a fine of no more than $10,000 and/or five years in prison for each tax charge and a similar fine and up to three years in prison for the fraudulent statements/perjury charge.
According to court documents, most of the local charges date back to Willis’s time as IRB director, when he allegedly helped issue Balbo Construction tax clearance letters even though the company was delinquent on its filings and payments.
The documents state that Balbo had not filed a corporate tax return from 1997 to 2000, owed a balance on its 1998 gross receipts tax returns, and had not filed gross receipts tax returns in 1999 and 2000, among other things.
After leaving IRB, Willis was also allegedly hired by Castor to prepare Balbo’s delinquent returns – dating back to 1998. According to the affidavit, Willis "understated" 27 returns for a total $2.9 million, leaving the government with a more than $118,000 liability.
During this week’s sentencing, Castor also presented a $100,000 check to the court, to be turned over to the Internal Revenue Bureau.