Thomas Ragonese, 55, of Trumbull entered a guilty plea Thursday in U.S. District Court in Hartford to a federal tax offense stemming from a scheme to defraud a Bridgeport-based residential property owner.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Ragonese served as the accountant for Anthony Testo and his business, ACT Builders, Inc. Testo was a property manager for a company that owns several apartments and rental homes in Bridgeport.
Ragonese, at Testo’s instruction, prepared rent rolls that showed some of the housing units to be vacant when in fact they were occupied, and some renting for less than the amount that Testo was collecting.
Testo defrauded the property owner of at least $275,000, said Tom Carson, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Deidre M. Daly.
For the 2007 through 2010 tax years, Ragonese prepared Testo’s federal tax returns, which failed to report the rental income that Testo kept for his own use and benefit, Carson said. This resulted in a tax loss to the Internal Revenue Service of $71,795.
Ragonese pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting the preparation and filing of a false tax return, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of three years. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny on October 2, 2014.
Testo has also pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 2.