CAMDEN, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey man admitted failing to withhold and pay over payroll taxes stemming from his ownership of two formerly prominent Newark restaurants, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced in a prepared statement on July 20, 2023.

Jorge Fernandes, 76, of West Orange, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Christine P. O’Hearn on two counts of failing to collect payroll taxes for the tax period of 2016 through 2017.   

Fernandes was the 50-percent owner of two restaurants in the Ironbound section of Newark, Iberia Tavern and Iberia Peninsula, according to statements made in court.

Fernandes was fully aware of his legal obligation to collect payroll taxes from the restaurants’ employees, but instead paid a number of the employees “off the books,” or “under the table,” failing to collect any payroll taxes from them. According to documents filed in the case, Fernandes’ conduct caused the government a total tax loss of $715,780 for tax years 2016 through 2017.

Charges for failure to collect payroll taxes carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 20, 2023.

To view court documents related to this case, see fernandes.information.pdf.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the IRS – Criminal Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins, and special agents with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Barnes, Chief of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark.

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