A former Pennsylvania health services company executive accused of claiming his luxury cars and 39,000-square-foot mansion as business expenses has been charged with tax fraud, federal prosecutors said Wednesday February 14, 2018.
Joseph Nocito Sr. listed the millions of dollars it cost to build a mega-mansion near Pittsburgh he called “Villa Noci,” as well as payments for a personal butler and a Jaguar, Maserati and Rolls Royce as corporate business expenses, authorities said.
The indictment also charges that Nocito understated his personal income and concealed millions of dollars of company profits from the government.
It accuses him and others of fraudulently listing multiple expenses on company ledgers to further the alleged scheme. The checks were categorized as “consulting” or “development” payments and include $237,000 to a swimming pool business, nearly $100,000 for lumber and $10,000 for a stained glass company.
Attorney Phillip DiLucente said in a statement that his client has been cooperative with the government since it started pursuing what he labeled a “tax dispute case” in 2010.
“Mr. Nocito looks forward to resolving this matter in a court of law rather than in the media and he will have no further response to the Government’s allegations until the appropriate time and place,” the statement read.
Nocito’s secretary pleaded guilty in 2015 to helping him evade more than $4 million in federal income taxes. The businessman wasn’t listed in an announcement of Ann Harris’ plea but authorities said her co-conspirator owned and controlled Nocito’s companies and that she fraudulently classified expenses for the co-conspirator’s mansion as business costs.
The case was expected ever since his former secretary, Ann Harris, pleaded guilty in 2015 and agreed to cooperate against her boss. Her case is pending.
Mr. Nocito, former president and chief executive officer of Automated Health Systems, a health services management company in the North Hills, conspired to conceal millions of dollars in personal income from the IRS, prosecutors said.
With the help of Ms. Harris and his former chief financial officer, who is an unnamed conspirator in the indictment but has not been charged, he caused the construction costs for his mansion to be recorded as business expenses for his companies, agents said.
He also devised what U.S. Attorney Scott Brady called “an elaborate shell game” in which he transferred money among his companies for the purpose of evading taxes.
As an example, agents say Mr. Nocito paid the builder of his home a monthly payment that he and the other conspirators called “consulting services” on #Nocito company books. He arranged for the builder’s employees to be paid as though they were employees of another of his companies, Northland Properties, which Mr. Nocito then expensed as business costs.
In addition to using various corporate entities to pay for his house, Mr. Nocito is also charged with falsely claiming as business expenses payments for his Jaguar, Maserati and Rolls Royce, his butler and cook, private school tuition for his grandchildren, mortgage payments for his relatives, insurance premiums and country club memberships. In company ledgers, he expensed those purchases variously as “travel,” “advertising” or “office expense.”
At the time, DiLucente also told the AP that the allegations were a tax dispute. Thank you to AP for the story.
Here are all the images of his mega-mansion we published from an earlier post, as well as a little more about the mansion from our other post.
Standing less than 75 feet from the road and dwarfing surrounding luxury homes is a building that looks like a cross between an English manor house and a country club, with turrets, balconies, arches and dozens of windows of various shapes and sizes.
With 32,400 square feet of living space, Joseph Nocito’s partially built house is the biggest new home in Western Pennsylvania. Its numbers are impressive:
14 full baths, five half baths
22,800 square feet on the first, second and third floors
9,600 square-foot basement
“You can’t compare that house to any other,” said Scott Fetterolf, president of Scott F. Fetterolf Builders, of the house being constructed by Ed Kress. “It’s in a league of its own.”
It’s not just the home’s size that makes it special. Others have built or are building houses of 12,000 square feet or more in northern Washington County and southern Butler County. Also, large additions on estates in other parts of the Sewickley Valley have pushed living space in those homes into the 20,000-square-foot range. But what really makes Nocito’s house stand out is the fact that it, well, stands out.
Most of the large old homes in the nearby towns of Sewickley Heights and Edgeworth are on private drives, hidden from public view by woods or at least a screen of mature trees. Some people wonder why Nocito didn’t do the same.
“Sewickley allows people of enormous wealth or fame to live in relative anonymity,” said one resident familiar with the house. “This has gone against the way people live in this town.”
Like many people interviewed for this story, the woman asked that her name not be used. She and others said the house is beautifully designed and is being built to the highest standards. But it doesn’t fit its location.
“The house would have been better built on a bigger lot and set back from the road,” said Betty Moraca, a Realtor with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.
Some wondered about Nocito’s neighbors, whose homes range in size from 4,500 to nearly 17,000 square feet and whose assessments range from $590,000 to $3.2 million. A house next door, whose owner declined to be interviewed, is now on the market for $3.8 million.
“Those houses look like servants’ quarters compared to this one,” said one resident.
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