North Attleborough man convicted for not filing tax returns

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By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

A North Attleborough man has been committed to serve a year in jail following a guilty conviction on six counts of failing to file a tax return, the Attorney General’s Office announced.

In the release, sent on Oct. 6, Steven R. Bankert, 64, of North Attleborough, was sentenced to one year in the House of Correction and ordered to pay $50,000 in fines following his release. This followed a Worcester Superior Court jury finding Bankert guilty of six counts of the charge of Failure to File Tax Return last January.

This defendant scammed the state and all of our taxpayers by not filing taxes for several years,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in the release. “We are grateful to the Department of Revenue for working with us to hold this defendant accountable for his crimes.”

The AG’s Office began investigating Bankert in August 2011 after Columbia Gas filed a complaint. The company suspected tampering and theft of gas by Bankert after they detected low and erratic consumption patterns. The investigation also found that from 2008 to 2012, Bankert tampered with 10 gas meters at six laundromats he owned in Attleboro, Brockton, Lawrence and Worcester for the purpose of stealing natural gas.

Bankert—a formerly licensed electrician—was found guilty in 2017 and sentenced to one year in jail and four years of probation on charges in connection with stealing more than $200,000 in natural gas.

During the course of that investigation, the AG’s Office also learned that Bankert had not filed a Massachusetts tax return for the 2006 through 2011 tax years, even though his laundromats had brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars in each of those years.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Gabriel Thornton, with assistance from Financial Investigator Jillian Petruzziello, and Senior Victim Witness Advocate Megan Murphy, all of AG Healey’s Criminal Bureau, as well as Investigators from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigations Bureau.

The Worcester Superior Court’s sentence sends a clear message to those that disregard Massachusetts’ tax laws and fail to file timely returns. They will be held responsible for their illegal conduct,” said DOR Commissioner Geoffrey E. Snyder in a statement. “The Department of Revenue remains committed to the pursuit of non-filers and appreciates the efforts of the Attorney General’s Office in supporting that cause.”