St. Catharines, Ontario, February 24, 2012… The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced today that on February 21, 2012, Charles Pillitteri, of Niagara-on-the-Lake, pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines to one count of income tax evasion. He was fined a total of $122,031. The fine represents 100% of the total federal income taxes evaded. The fine has since been paid in full.

A CRA investigation determined that Mr. Pillitteri, an executive with Pillitteri Estates Winery Inc., underreported his personal income on his 2004 T1 Income Tax and Benefit Return by $439,102, evading a total of $122,031 in federal income tax. The underreported amount was income that Mr. Pillitteri had misappropriated from the company and used for his own personal benefit.

The preceding information was obtained from the court records.

“Canadian taxpayers must have confidence in the fairness of the tax system,” said Darrell Mahoney, Assistant Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency for the Ontario Region. “To maintain that confidence, the CRA is determined to hold tax evaders accountable for their actions.”

When individuals are convicted of income tax and GST evasion, they still must repay the full amount of taxes owing, plus interest and any civil penalties that may be assessed by the CRA. In addition, the court may fine them up to 200% of the taxes evaded and impose a jail term of up to five years.

Individuals who have not filed returns for previous years, or who have not reported all of their income, can still voluntarily correct their tax affairs. They will not be penalized or prosecuted if they make a valid disclosure before they become aware of any compliance action being initiated by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) against them.  These individuals may only have to pay the taxes owing, plus interest. More information on the Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) can be found on the CRA’s website at www.cra.gc.ca/voluntarydisclosures.

Further information on convictions can also be found in the Media Room on the CRA website at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/convictions

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