FEDS CLAIM FORMER MAYOR FLED TO AFGHANISTAN AFTER LEARNING HE WAS FACING A FEDERAL INDICTMENT
by Phil Stilton
TRENTON-Carmine Inteso, the former Republican mayor and committeeman from Toms River has been sentenced to six months in prison under a split sentence by the honorable Judge Pisano on Monday. Inteso also received two years of supervised release, including six months of house arrest on charges of income tax evasion, to which he previously plead guilty to.
A six-count Indictment – returned by a Newark, N.J., federal grand jury on Nov. 10, 2011, and unsealed June 25, 2012 – charges Inteso, 46, of Toms River, N.J., with three counts of federal personal income tax evasion and three counts of failing to file federal personal income tax returns for calendar years 2006, 2007 and 2008.
No fines or financial penalties were levied against the former mayor due to outstanding tax obligations, according to Rebekah Charmichael, public affairs officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey.
In July of 2012, Intenso, who was working a contractor job in Afghanistan was arrested by federal authorities at JFK International Airport in New York City as he reentered the country.
According to a brief released by Carmichael last year, he was arrested upon his return from Afghanistan, where he was working as a civilian contractor.
Inteso, according to federal authorities, funneled political bribe money from Federal Hill Risk Management into ficticious company accounts.
Federal Hill Risk Management is the same firm in which former Toms River Schools Superintendent Michael Ritacco received bribe money from.
Because of the statute of limitations, federal authorities could only pursue income tax evasion charges against Inteso, according to the indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
MAYOR FUNNELED $291,000 IN BRIBE MONEY TO “SHAM” COMPANY
The indictment claimed Inteso was the beneficiary of a ”sham company” which received $291,792 in payments from an insurance company. The indictment says Inteso received money through the sham company from an insurance broker who served the Toms River Board of Education.
Although the indictment did not list the broker by name, it is known to be Federal Hill Risk Management, operated by Francis Gartland. In April of 2012, Gartland pleaded guilty to theft by deception and money laundering.
Toms River School Board Superintendent Michael Ritacco also pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges and corruption after receiving $2 million from Federal Hill Risk Management.
For Inteso, the IRS claimed that between 2006 and 2008, he withdrew $279,000 of the total sum from the bank account of the sham company. The IRS also said Inteso did not pay personal income tax on the monies received from the “sham company” and willingly and knowingly committed income tax evasion. The IRS is claiming Inteso has a current tax deficiency of $49,000 and willfully did not file income tax returns in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The charges indicate that the payments from the insurance broker were made during the time Inteso served as Mayor of Toms River.
Inteso allegedly took a job in Afghanistan after learning he was the target of the tax investigation and, after returning to the United States, was taken into custody at New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport. Inteso appeared the day after in Newark federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk and was released on $200,000 bond.
From 2002 through 2007, Inteso held the positions of Township Committee Member, Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Councilman for the Township of Toms River, formerly known as Dover Township.
Beginning in 2005 and continuing through 2008, Inteso accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from an insurance broker based in Towson, Md., whose companies provided insurance brokerage services for New Jersey municipal entities – including the Brick Township Board of Education and the Township of Toms River. Inteso directed the insurance broker to make the payments to a company Inteso controlled and that had ceased operating by 2007.
Inteso used the funds to pay for his personal expenses and withdrew significant amounts of cash. Despite receiving approximately $291,000 in income from the insurance broker during calendar years 2006, 2007 and 2008, Inteso failed to file personal income taxes for those years.
FACING 18 YEARS IN PRISON, INTESO ACCEPTED PLEA AGREEMENT
Each of the three tax evasion counts carried a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a 250,000 fine.
Each of the three failure to file counts carried a maximum potential penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of John R. Tafur, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Newark Field Office – and the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, with the investigation leading to the Indictment.
The Office of International Affairs in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the Diplomatic Security Service’s Regional Security Office in Kabul, Afghanistan provided invaluable assistance.