A Woodbridge attorney has pleaded guilty to failure to pay about $400,000 in federal income taxes and faces up to six years in prison.
Jerry Gruenbaum, who in state Judicial Branch records is listed as an attorney for SEC Attorneys LLC, waived his right to indictment and admitted to a federal judge in Hartford on Wednesday, July 16 that he didn’t pay taxes on more than $1.3 million in income over a six-year period.
Gruenbaum, who is being represented by New Haven attorney William Dow III, pleaded guilty to two counts of filing a false federal tax return. In addition to possible prison time, Gruenbaum, 59, will have to pay about $877,646 in back taxes, penalties and interest.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut, Gruenbaum filed tax returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007 that he knew understated his income. For 2008, 2009 and 2010, he failed to file any returns at all, authorities said. If he had followed the law, prosecutors say he would have paid an additional $394,226 n taxes over the six-year period.
“There’s always a back story that puts everything in context,” Dow said. “We look forward to presenting that in court” at the sentencing hearing.
According to federal authorities, Gruenbaum also admitted that he made it difficult for Internal Revenue Service investigators to figure out his actual income. His tactics included calculating calculating the gross receipt figures for one of his businesses by reviewing just one of multiple bank accounts that he knew had reportable income. He also reportedly paid personal expenses from corporate accounts, and received compensation from at least three different corporations in the form of stock shares and salaries, and failed to report that income on his tax returns.
According to the Judicial Branch website, Gruenbaum’s law license has been on administrative suspension since June 17 for failure to pay his Client Security Fund fee. His disciplinary record also includes two presentments to the Statewide Grievance Committee in the late 1980s and one reprimand from the same time period. Further details were not immediately available.
Chief Disciplinary Counsel Patricia King said the state would look into the current criminal case. In the past, the office could not begin an investigation until after an attorney was sentenced. After Oct. 1, 2014, disciplinary actions can commence after a conviction or a guilty plea. So King said that “after that date we will most likely file a presentment against attorney Gruenbaum.”