The head of a major seafood processing company based in Gloucester was indicted Friday on charges he failed to pay taxes on more than $2 million in income he earned between 2006 and 2009, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.
Jack Ventola, 68, who lives in Ipswich and serves as president and part owner of National Fish & Seafood Inc., located at 11-15 Parker St. and 159 E. Main St., was indicted on three counts of filing false tax returns and one count of conspiracy to defraud the federal Internal Revenue Service.
The indictment alleges that Ventola's company utilized the services of a temporary labor company called Continental Labor Team Inc., which Ventola and a co-conspirator — also an executive with National Fish & Seafood — controlled.
The Gloucester-based National Fish & Seafood is a division of Pacific Andes Group, a national seafood supplier to major retailers, distributors, institutional food service and restaurant chains across the United States.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Ventola and his co-conspirator, who was not identified Friday by authorities, allegedly worked together to channel money out of Continental and into their personal bank accounts, tax free.
To do this, the co-conspirator allegedly prepared fraudulent invoices for work supposedly done for Continental by a shell company that Ventola also controlled, called International Freezing Systems (IFS). According to the authorities, Ventola and his co-conspirator used the fake IFS invoices to obtain payments from Continental, which they deposited into one of Ventola’s personal bank accounts.
From there, investigators say, Ventola used the money to pay personal expenses and also wrote his co-conspirator personal checks approximately on a monthly basis. Although the checks from Continental totaled more than $2 million between 2006 and 2009, neither Ventola nor his co-conspirator reported the income on their tax returns, federal officials say.
The indictment also alleges that Ventola failed to report approximately $149,000 of other income he received in 2008 and 2009.
In announcing the indictment, U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and William P. Offord, special agent in charge of the IRS' criminal investigations unit, noted that the charge of filing a false tax return provides for a penalty of no greater than three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $100,000.
The conspiracy charge provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.