On Friday, it was announced that the former principal of a Boston-area accounting firm had pled guilty to conspiring with the former resident of a seafood processing company and others to defraud the company and its majority shareholder. 62-year-old Michael Bruno of Melrose pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the IRS and to commit wire fraud. The defendant is now scheduled to be sentenced on March 8, 2018.

Between 1999 and 2015, Bruno served as a member of the company’s board of directors. He conspired with three executives of the company to divert money from the company and its majority shareholder to those three executives. The conspirators caused the seafood processing company to hire a temporary labor company, Continental Labor Team, to supposedly provide labor for the company’s facility in Gloucester.

In reality, the labor company was controlled by the seafood processor’s president. Plus, employees of the seafood processor were responsible for recruiting temporary workers and dealing with issues regarding their employment. The seafood processor was Continental’s sole customer. Money paid for the services of Continental was deposited into an account controlled by the seafood processor’s president, who in return distributed the money to two other executives or corporate entities that they controlled.

Bruno and his accounting firm prepared tax returns for the seafood processor, its president and the corporate entities controlled by other executives. Bruno admitted to conspiring with the executives to understate their income on tax returns. At the time of his sentencing, Michael Bruno will face a maximum of five years in prison along with three years of supervised release.

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