Calif. Pizza Owners Arrested for Alleged Workers’ Comp Fraud, Tax Evasion

August 20, 2002

Investigators with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) Criminal Investigations Branch’s Fraud Division and the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced the arrests of Benito Storniolo, 44, Laura Storniolo, 40, and Angelo Cardarelli, 37, of San Francisco for workers’ compensation premium fraud and tax evasion. The trio is currently in custody in the San Francisco County Jail with bail set at $1,000,000 each.

The Storniolos and Cardarelli are the corporate officers of L’Aquile Corporation doing business as Benvenuti Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant. The San Francisco County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.

According to investigators, the Storniolos and Cardarelli jointly owned and operated their pizzeria and allegedly underreported their payroll to the Employment Development Department (EDD) by approximately $2,250,000. Additionally, they allegedly provided false payroll information to their insurance carrier, State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), in an effort to obtain cheaper workers’ compensation insurance premiums. By underreporting employee payroll, it is estimated that SCIF was defrauded out of $103,500 in premiums.

The Storniolos and Cardarelli each will be charged with filing a false income tax return signed under penalty of perjury for their 1997—1999 tax years. Also, each will be charged with tax evasion for their 1996—1999 tax years.

In addition, Laura Storniolo, as president and signer of the corporate tax returns, will be charged for failure to report all the corporate income and tax evasion for the 1996—1999 tax years.

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