Westport tree service owner sentenced for tax fraud

Robert Porzio, owner of Bert’s Tree Service Inc. in Westport, was sentenced to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for tax evasion. Porzio was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine.

Porzio was accused of depositing numerous customers’ checks into personal bank accounts, transfering a significant portion of the funds into a personal investment account and hiding the receipts of these payments from his company’s bookkeeper. The payments were not reported on his individual federal tax returns as additional salary and were also excluded from the company’s tax returns as additional receipts.

Porzio maintained this chicanery from the 2012 through 2016 tax years, resulting in a failure to report more than $900,000 in additional income. The underreporting of Porzio’s income tax liability and the company’s payroll tax obligations resulted in a loss to the IRS of $331,388.

Porzio, who pleaded guilty last December, has paid his back taxes but he still owes interest and penalties.

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Phil Hall’s writing for Westfair Communications has earned multiple awards from the Connecticut Press Club and the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists. He is a former United Nations-based reporter for Fairchild Broadcast News and the author of 10 books (including the 2020 release “Moby Dick: The Radio Play” and the upcoming “Jesus Christ Movie Star,” both published by BearManor Media). He is also the host of the SoundCloud podcast “The Online Movie Show,” co-host of the WAPJ-FM talk show “Nutmeg Chatter” and a writer with credits in The New York Times, New York Daily News, Hartford Courant, Wired, The Hill’s Congress Blog, Profit Confidential, The MReport and StockNews.com. Outside of journalism, he is also a horror movie actor – usually playing the creepy villain who gets badly killed at the end of each film.