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Myerson Friend Receives Four-Year Prison Term For Tax Evasion

March 30, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ A contractor was sentenced to four years in prison for tax evasion Monday after federal prosecutors said he refused to cooperate with investigations into organized crime and public corruption.

The prosecution’s pre-sentencing memo on Carl A. Capasso, friend of embattled city Cultural Affairs Commissioner Bess Myerson, claimed he ″repeatedly refused to discuss″ his relationships with ″city officials and political leaders who have been at the epicenter of the city’s corruption scandal, as well as convicted and reputed organized crime leaders.″

Ms. Myerson, a former Miss America, took an unpaid 90-day leave in January after admitting she invoked her Fifth Amendement right against self- incrimination before a federal grand jury investigating Capasso.

Among the allegations in the 22-page prosecution memo was that Capasso’s name surfaced in an FBI bug of a conversation among convicted and reputed mob figures, including Genovese crime family boss Anthony ″Fat Tony″ Salerno, discussing the distribution of projects in the city’s concrete industry.

Capasso’s attorney, Jay Goldberg, accused prosecutors of several ″low blows″ in the memo and maintained his client’s only crimes were evading taxes ″on money that was legitimately earned through quality work.″

U.S. District Judge Charles Stewart told Capasso before sentencing that he was ″focusing only on the income tax fraud which you have pleaded guilty to.″

Stewart, who fined Capasso $500,000 and placed him on three years’ probation to follow his four-year prison term, told him: ″I am amazed that someone with your intelligence, ability and ... financial resources engaged in such deliberate, longterm and ongoing fraud.″

″I feel I committed a serious crime and I apologize for it, and I’m ready to face the consequences,″ said Capasso, who pleaded guilty Jan. 22 to evading corporate and personal income taxes on nearly $1.5 million in 1981 and 1982. He had no comment to reporters after the sentencing.

Capasso, 45, of Manhattan, could have received a maximum sentence of 37 years in prison and fines of $1.5 million for a nine-count federal indictment returned against him last January.

Stewart sentenced him to concurrent four-year prison terms on five counts and concurrent three-year probation terms on the remaining four counts.

The indictment charged that Capasso, president of Nanco Contracting Corp., used two schemes to avoid paying taxes: writing off more than $1.2 million in renovation work at two Manhattan co-op apartments he owns as business expenses; and filing more than $300,000 in phony damage claims against Nanco and pocketing the money, again claiming it as business expenses.

The city probe of Ms. Myerson, 62, includes whether she had an improper hand in the awarding of a $53 million contract to Nanco for a Brooklyn sewage treatment plant. Both Ms. Myerson and Capasso have denied that allegation.

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