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September 17, 2020

Businessman gets probation, fine for tax evasion 


The owner of an Old Saybrook construction company was sentenced Wednesday to three years of probation for tax evasion.

Kevin Braza, 48, of Westbrook, had entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in June.

Braza owns and operates K.E. Braza Construction, a construction and excavation business based at 3 Custom Dr. in Old Saybrook. The business has done work around the state for over two decades, and specializes in seawall construction, excavation management, foundation repair and demolition work. 

In addition to imposing probation, Judge Janet C. Hall also ordered Braza to perform 200 hours of community service and pay a $25,000 fine.

When given a chance to speak to the judge during the proceeding, Braza indicated he is sorry for his actions and has tried to make amends, including by paying what he owes the Internal Revenue Service.

“I tried a shortcut to success,” Braza said. “I only have myself to blame. I want to apologize to the court, my family, friends, customers and the IRS. I have tried over the past two years to do what is right. All I can offer is my word that I have gotten the message. I can assure you I won’t ever be back here again.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Cherry had asked the judge to impose a sentence within the calculated guidelines, which called for Braza to get between 12 and 18 months of confinement, with at least half of that to include imprisonment.

“Mr. Braza did not engage in a single episode of unlawful behavior. Instead, he engaged in a five-year scheme to defraud the government by withholding relevant business and banking records from his accountant and thus filing false tax returns,” Cherry wrote, in a pre-sentencing report.

Cherry asserted that a sentence that includes imprisonment would deter others from committing the same crime.

“The government strongly believes he should get some sort of imprisonment,” Cherry said during the sentencing proceeding.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Braza failed to fully report to the IRS income he earned through his business and by gambling. The money was earned over multiple tax years, from 2013 through 2017. 

By not reporting these earnings, Braza failed to pay $184,579 in income taxes that he owed to the federal government, prosecutors said. 

Prior to pleading guilty, Braza paid full restitution, including penalties and interest, of $394,474. 

Attorney Thomas Murphy of the Hartford law firm of Cowdery & Murphy, who represented Braza, asked for leniency for his client, citing his acceptance of responsibility and that he has worked with the IRS to pay what he owes. 

“He has done everything he can to try to make this right,” Murphy said.

Murphy additionally asserted that his client’s business, which employs up to three full-time employees at peak times, would fail without him. 

Hall said that while there are more serious crimes than tax evasion, it is still serious.

“If we all don’t pay our taxes, it is unfair to those who pay, and that does have to be reflected in the sentence,” Hall said.

Contact Michelle Tuccitto Sullo at

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