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Circle Industries owners guilty of tax fraud

  Tax  -   POSTED: 2007/10/04 12:04

An Alpharetta father and son who ran a company that worked on the Olympic Village in Atlanta and their bookeeper have all been convicted of tax fraud on Wednesday. A federal jury has returned a guilty verdict against Gerald Marchelletta Sr., 74, Gerald Marchelletta Jr., 41, and Theresa Kottwitz, 49, all of Alpharetta. Marchelletta Sr. faces up to 14 years in prison. Marchelletta Jr. could get a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison. Kottwitz could receive a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. Sentencing slated for January 8, 2008, before U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten.

The Marchellettas own Circle Industries, a multi-million dollar international commercial construction firm based in Alpharetta. Circle worked on various prominent jobs, including the construction of the Olympic Village in downtown Atlanta in 1996 and the Atlantis hotel and casino on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Kottwitz served as the bookkeeper of the firm during the relevant period.

Testimony and other documents presented during trial revealed the Marchellettas spent millions in company money for their own personal benefit. The biggest items were two luxury estates built by the owners, each of which cost Circle more than $1 million.

The Marchellettas also caused Circle to pay more than $10,000 for each of the following personal items: luxury custom clothing, trips to the now-defunct Gold Club, a rental apartment in Alpharetta and landscaping costs at a house one of them kept in New York. None of these personal payments were recorded on Circle's books as income or loans to the Marchellettas, or as having anything to do with them personally. Instead, with the assistance of Kottwitz, the expenses were falsely booked as job-related or other business expenses.

The jury found Marchelletta Sr. and Jr. guilty of one count each of willfully subscribing to a false personal tax return, and all defendants guilty of assisting in the filing of a false corporate return and of conspiracy to commit these crimes.

"This was a case of pure greed, in which the defendants tried to defraud the United States Treasury of over $1 million," said U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias. "The Marchellettas, assisted by their former bookkeeper, Kottwitz, skimmed millions out of their company tax-free to pay for their own mansions and other personal expenses, disguising those blatant personal expenditures on the company tax returns as business expenses. Today the jury held them accountable for their lies, deception and bogus accounting."


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