A Trumbull resident who owns a Bridgeport restaurant was sentenced to two months in prison for filing false tax returns.
Maria Pinheiro, 58, of Trumbull, was sentenced Monday by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to two months of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for filing false tax returns. She was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, according Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Pinheiro owns and operates the Dolphin’s Cove Marina (“DCM”), a seafood restaurant in Bridgeport. From 2007 through 2009, Pinheiro was the sole shareholder and bookkeeper for DCM, and she handled all of the DCM finances. Instead of depositing all of the cash receipts from the restaurant into the Dolphin’s Cove business checking account, Pinheiro deposited substantial amounts of cash from the business into her personal checking account. She then failed to provide her personal bank records to the firms that prepared the federal income tax returns for her and DCM.

Between 2007 and 2009, Pinheiro deposited $352,437 in cash that Dolphin’s Cove received into her personal bank account. Some of deposits were structured in amounts of less than $10,001 in order to evade her bank’s currency transaction reporting requirements. Pinheiro caused the filing of false personal and corporate tax returns, resulting in a tax loss of $92,251.
On March 25, 2015, Pinheiro pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return. As part of her plea agreement, Pinheiro agreed to pay back taxes, interest and penalties in the total amount of $243,956.98, which she paid in full this week.

This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah P. Karwan.