March 13, 2019

Torrington tax fraudster nets 18 months

The former co-owner of a Torrington hand- and power-tool maker will spend 18 months in federal prison for tax evasion, prosecutors say.

Serafino Canino, 53, of Torrington, also was sentenced Tuesday in Bridgeport federal court to three years of supervised release and ordered to repay the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) $430,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest, the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Canino, who pleaded guilty Sept. 24, is due to report to prison on June 5.

According to investigators, Canino was employed by, and had an ownership stake in, Innovative Concepts Corp. (ICC), a maker-distributor of power and hand tools.

ICC contracted with factories in Asia through intermediaries located in Taiwan, authorities said. Those intermediaries negotiated with Asian producers, ensured the shipment of manufactured products to ICC, and invoiced ICC for the manufacturing of its products.

From 2008 through 2011, Canino engaged in fraudulent billing using two of ICC's intermediaries, investigators said. Canino instructed the intermediaries to charge ICC an inflated price and kick back the overage to Canino using overseas bank accounts and an overseas corporate entity.

Through this scheme, Canino improperly received more than $633,000 in income, yet he failed to disclose this illegal income on his 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 tax returns, authorities said. The total tax loss to the IRS was $186,358.

A woman who answered ICC's phone Wednesday said it is a different company today than the one Canino co-owned, and declined comment.

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