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Chelsea Piers referees, employees, charged with ID theft, tax evasion

NEW YORK – Two referees and two employees at the Chelsea Piers sports complex in Manhattan face a variety of federal charges, including ID theft for purposes  of evading taxes. Peter Iulo, 53, of Brooklyn, a former referee and basketball program supervisor at Chelsea Piers Management, Inc. and James Murray, 44, of Yonkers, a Chelsea Piers employee who oversaw the basketball program, for their roles in a scheme to use stolen identities to evade taxes on income paid to various referees in Chelsea Piers' adult basketball leagues. Two other referees, Gerard Fahy, 57, of Yonkers and Robert Spence, 57, of Bayside, pled guilty for their participation in the scheme. Iulo and Murray were arrested and arraigned Thursday afternoon in Magistrate Court.

Chelsea Piers is a sports and entertainment complex in Manhattan where various adult basketball leagues play their games. Referees for the basketball games are paid approximately $40 per game by Chelsea Piers. In any year where a referee is paid more than $600, Chelsea Piers must report to the IRS the payment of income to the referee. As alleged, the defendants and others participated in a scheme that used stolen identification information to ensure that referees were rarely, if ever, paid more than $600 per year in their own names. As a result, they avoided having Chelsea Piers report the income they earned to the IRS, and thereby avoided paying taxes on that income. As part of the scheme, the defendants and others provided Chelsea Piers with false IRS forms that contained the stolen identification information. When Chelsea Piers issued checks payable to the stolen identities, the defendants fraudulently endorsed the checks when they were deposited or cashed.

All four defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, to evade taxes, and to file false tax returns, and one count conspiracy of to commit identity theft. Iulo, Fahy and Spence are also charged with tax evasion - Fahy and Spence each with one count and Iulo with four counts. In addition, Iulo is charged with one count of aggravated identity theft.

The tax evasion conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and three years of supervised release. The identity theft conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and three years of supervised release. Each substantive tax evasion charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and three years of supervised release. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory consecutive two-year prison term and a maximum of one year of supervised release. On each of the charges, the defendants face various fines.