Ex-Henderson body shop owner gets prison time for failing to pay federal taxes

Former Henderson businessman Robert D’Errico was sentenced Wednesday to six months in federal prison and six months of home confinement for failing to pay the Internal Revenue Service $158,076 in taxes.

D’Errico, 64, who owned the body shop Sunset Collision Center, pleaded guilty last November to one felony count of tax evasion in a scheme authorities allege hid more than $450,000 in income from the IRS between 2006 and 2008.

He was indicted in October 2011 following an IRS investigation that revealed he tried to sell the Henderson body shop with two sets of books.

In court Wednesday, D’Errico asked U.S. District Judge James Mahan for “leniency” so that he could take responsibility for his actions and pay the IRS the $158,076 in restitution.

He said he was never in trouble with the law before, and he assured the judge he would not be back in his courtroom.

His lawyer, Louis Palazzo, said D’Errico was remorseful for what he did. But Palazzo also contended that this was not a “garden variety” case of tax evasion, blaming much of the wrongdoing on D’Errico’s late former business partner and an employee who handled the books of Sunset Collision Center.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Yang, who had sought the 12-month split sentence, didn’t share that opinion. He countered, “This was a blatant cash skim.”

According to D’Errico’s plea agreement, he told a “potential buyer” in 2009 that his body shop generated $150,000 a year in “take-home cash.” He acknowledged that he kept journals of the cash generated “off the books.”

Mahan said he had trouble believing Palazzo’s argument and ended up siding with Yang.

The judge also ordered D’Errico to serve three years of supervised release after he completes the prison term and electronically monitored home confinement.

Mahan gave D’Errico until June 20 to surrender to prison authorities.

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