Illinois businessman sentenced to nine years in prison for fraud and tax evasion


Date: May 7, 2024


CHICAGO — An Illinois businessman has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for evading nearly half a million dollars in taxes and engaging in a variety of fraud schemes.

Joseph J. Cipolla Jr. knowingly and willfully failed to file individual income tax returns from 2015 to 2020, causing losses of $415,043 to the IRS and $75,045 to the State of Illinois. Cipolla concealed his receipt of income by engaging in affirmative acts of tax evasion, including listing a relative’s Social Security number on casino tax forms, using family members as nominee owners of vehicles, and using a nominee to rent airplane hangars at the DuPage County, Ill. Airport. Among his other offenses, Cipolla in 2020 fraudulently procured four loans under the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, two sources of relief under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act that were intended to support small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Cipolla obtained more than $1.18 million in PPP and EIDL loans by manufacturing false tax documents and submitting them to lenders.

Cipolla of Bloomingdale, Ill., pleaded guilty last year to federal charges of tax evasion, wire fraud, and mail fraud. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly on Friday ordered Cipolla to pay $2,096,285 in restitution to the IRS, State of Illinois, U.S. Small Business Administration, and other entities and individuals victimized by his schemes.

The sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Chicago Field Office, Hannibal Ware, Inspector General of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and Andrea M. Kropf, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy J. Chapman and Michelle M. Petersen.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.