Cafe owner pleads guilty to offering cash for lower tax penalty


The owner of  Italian restaurants in northern New Castle County has admitted to offering cash to an Internal Revenue Service official.

Domenico Procope, 48, of Hockessin,  pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Leonard P. Stark in U.S. District Court in Wilmington to one count of providing something of value to a government official in exchange for an official act.

 Beginning in 2010, he began accumulating business-related and personal income tax liability, and by February 2016, the IRS sought to collect more than $400,000 from him, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said Procope offered to pay an IRS officer assigned to his tax case to resolve the majority of his tax liability.

During recorded conversations with the officer, Procope offered the individual  $30,000 in exchange for a reduction in his tax liability. On Feb. 25, 2016, Procope gave the officer $30,000 in cash, a release stated.

The count of giving an illegal gratuity to a public official carries a maximum potential penalty of two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for April 25.

(See earlier story for further details).