BOSTON - The long-time owner of one of Boston's largest taxi companies has been charged in federal court with tax evasion, failing to pay overtime and employing "illegal aliens," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Edward Tuntunjian, who has owned Boston Cab for more than 40 years, was also charged Monday with defrauding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through another of his companies.
Tuntunjian and his company have signed plea agreements to pay more than $2.3 million in restitution, the U.S. Attorney's Office says.
The Boston Cab company has been operated in Boston by Tuntunjian and his company, EJT Management, since 1972. By 2014, the company had well over 300 taxi licenses.
Tuntunjian is accused of concealing the size of his company, paying employees in cash and employing undocumented workers in order to avoid paying taxes to the IRS.
"EJT did not issue W-2 forms to those employees and did not withhold or pay federal income tax, Social Security tax, or Medicare tax with regard to those illegal alien employees," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement. "Tutunjian filed quarterly employment tax returns for EJT which did not include the amounts which had been paid in cash to EJT employees. In this way, EJT evaded, and aided and abetted its employees in evading, approximately $739,204 in taxes from 2009 to 2013."
Tuntunjiuan is also accused of requiring some employees to punch in for fewer than 40 hours per week in order to keep from paying them overtime.
According to a release, Tuntunjian has agreed to pay over $1.3 million to the IRS for taxes, interest and penalties and an additional $699,717 in overtime pay to employees.
Tuntunjian could face up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and an additional fine of $250,000.
Attorney Andrew Good represents Tutunjian and sent FOX25 the following statement.
Edward Tutunjian accepts full responsibility for his unlawful practices involving mechanics, tow truck drivers and other employees. These practices ceased almost three years ago. All of the unpaid taxes and overtime wages will be paid with interest and penalties. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Boston taxi drivers are not employees, and that Mr. Tutunjian's relationship with the drivers was lawful. Years of investigation has reconfirmed that, contrary to some media reports, Mr. Tutunjian's relationships with taxi drivers comply with the laws.
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