A Connecticut woman paid back $400K in a tax offense case. She still might face prison. – Hartford Courant

A Brookfield woman could face up to five years in prison after she pleaded guilty to a federal tax offense, according to federal officials.

Lizbel Sanchez also known as Lizbel Diaz, 47, waived her right to be indicted and recently pleaded guilty in Bridgeport federal court to one count of willful failure to collect or pay over taxes, according to federal officials.

The count of willful failure to collect or pay over taxes carries a possible maximum term of five years in prison, federal officials said in a statement Sanchez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea on July 7 in Hartford, the statement said.

Sanchez is free on bond pending sentencing, according to federal authorities.

Sanchez is a minority owner of Danbury Food Corp., which operates a C-Town grocery store in Danbury and was responsible for the corporation’s “accounting and financial records, and for collecting and paying over certain federal taxes from DFC’s employees, namely federal income taxes and Federal Insurance Contribution Act “ taxes, which include Medicare and social security taxes, federal officials said in the statement, citing court documents and statements made in court. Sanchez also was “responsible for ensuring that DFC, as an employer, paid its own share of FICA and its Federal Unemployment Tax,“ which were based on its employees’ taxable wages, the statement said.

“An investigation revealed that, Sanchez and DFC paid several employees in cash and failed to collect, account for and pay over the federal income taxes and FICA taxes associated with the cash wages,” the statement said. “Sanchez also failed to account for and pay over DFC’s share of FICA taxes and its FUTA obligation based on the taxable wages of those employees that DFC paid in cash. This conduct caused a tax loss of $408,121.85 to the IRS for the 2016 tax year.”

Authorities said Sanchez has paid $408,121.85 in restitution to the IRS. “She also has acknowledged similar conduct for DFC in 2017 and 2018, and for other businesses in which Sanchez had an interest in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Additional tax losses will be addressed civilly by the IRS,” the statement said.

The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division and the case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David T. Huang, according to authorities.

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