New Jersey businessman sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for tax violations


Date: April 15, 2024


PHILADELPHIA — United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Agostino Perna was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl to six months in federal prison and six months of home confinement for tax crimes. Perna was also ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and $455,463 in restitution.

Perna pleaded guilty in 2023, admitting that he assisted in the filing of false corporate tax returns and filed false personal income tax returns, with a total loss to the government of $455,463.

Perna was the co-owner and operator of a business called Life Quest, which sells body parts for medical purposes. In this role, he caused false corporate income tax returns for Life Quest to be filed for tax years 2014 through 2019. These returns did not report substantial amounts of the business’ income. This omission occurred because Perna concealed from both his business partner and Life Quest’s accountant/tax preparer that Perna had been receiving significant gross receipts – totaling $332,157 – from certain Life Quest clients, which he ultimately diverted to himself.

Perna filed false personal income tax returns over the same six-year period. First, he failed to report the over $300,000 of Life Quest customer payments that he diverted for his personal use. Second, he omitted from his tax returns over $250,000 of additional income that he received from other businesses he owned. Perna obtained this income having the businesses reimburse him (as a business expense) for using his personal credit cards to pay business expenses, all while he had those businesses directly pay the credit card bills and deducted the credit card payments again as a business expense. Third, Perna failed to report additional significant amounts of business income of approximately $632,000, and then disguised the distribution of that income to himself by mischaracterizing the income as “loan repayments.” Last, Perna failed to report over $80,000 of rental income that he received from properties that he rented to tenants.

“It’s April 15, a day when many people are rushing to file last-minute returns so they can claim refunds or pay what they owe,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Our tax system relies on the honesty and integrity of our citizens to do just that — pay what they legitimately owe to the U.S. Treasury. If they don’t, we can’t properly fund government services, which so many people rely on. Perna’s sentence of prison time, fine, and restitution sends the message that failure to pay your taxes will result in significant consequences.”

“Corporate and personal income taxes are an integral source of funding for government programs such as Social Security and Medicare,” said Yury Kruty, IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Special Agent in Charge. “These cases continue to be a priority for CI and we will aggressively pursue those who do not comply with those tax obligations.”

The case was investigated by the CI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric D. Gill.

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.