Contractor ordered to pay restitution, fine in tax case

Jun. 9—IPSWICH — A painting company owner from Ipswich will spend three years on probation and pay $1.85 million in unpaid taxes and a $200,000 fine, a federal judge ordered Wednesday.

George Vasiliades, 58, pleaded guilty in December to a total of 35 counts of tax evasion, aiding and abetting in the filing of false tax returns and making false statements to Social Security.

During a hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court, federal prosecutors had sought a 30-month prison term for Vasiliades, noting a prior tax avoidance scheme.

His attorneys asked for house arrest, citing Vasiliades’ acceptance of responsibility, willingness to pay restitution and family obligations, including a wife with cancer.

Judge Allison Burroughs, who received some 80 letters of support for Vasiliades, imposed a sentence of time served (Vasiliades was briefly in custody before putting up his Pitcairn Way home as bond in the case) and the period of probation.

Prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum that the scheme came to light as investigators with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were looking into the death of a worker and discovered that Vasiliades, who ran Olympic Painting and Roofing, was paying workers through various “shell” companies that he’d had them set up.

Besides Olympic, Vasiliades ran Alpine Property Services, Boston Central Management, Delta Labor Company, and Turnpike General Contracting.

He was arrested in 2018.

Prosecutors said that Vasiliades would pay or direct payment to the shell companies for “expenses,” when in actuality the money was meant to be wages paid to the workers, whom he’d classified as independent contractors.

He also used separate bank accounts not connected to his payroll processing software to pay undocumented workers. One undocumented worker was paid under the name of another employee for several months in 2013.

Vasiliades and his attorneys, Tracy Miner and Christina Lindberg, urged the judge to impose probation and a period of home confinement, to allow him to continue caring for his wife and other family members and run his businesses.

They also pointed to the charitable work Vasiliades did during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, when he set up “Feed the Heroes” to deliver food to health care workers, police, firefighters, senior centers and homeless shelters.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis