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Toms River Lawyer Admits Federal Tax Evasion

A 57-year-old Toms River attorney is scheduled to be sentenced in August for skipping payments to the Internal Revenue Service and concealing money in an attorney trust account credited to his wife while already behind on tax payments.

Lee Gottesman pleaded guilty today to federal income tax evasion and failing to pay payroll taxes for the employees of his law firm in a Trenton courtroom, according to information supplied by the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and fines as high as $250,000. His sentencing is scheduled for August 21.

Prosecutors say that Gottesman employed two other lawyers and a legal secretary. The IRS filed a levy on his assets in 2002 in order to address unpaid taxes, say investigators.

Gottesman opened a sub-account of hisattorney trust account, in his wife’s name, say authorities, although she was not a legal client.

It was from there that Gottesman was accused of running his personal and business transactions. Payments cited include more than $90,000 in mortgage payments; at least $17,000 in household costs including pool maintenance, landscaping and construction; life insurance premiums, auto body repair work and personal credit card payments.

Prosecutors say Gottesman was able to avoied paying personal income taxes and also withheld payroll and related taxes from employee wages but never filed required forms or submitted the money to the IRS.

Despite admitting to personal income tax evasion for 2006 and payroll tax omissions for 2009, Gottesman is ordered to pay all taxes owed from 2006 forward.


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