N.Y. rep pleads guilty to tax evasion

Associated Press

New York – — U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm admitted Tuesday to federal tax evasion, pleading guilty to charges he had fought as he won re-election last fall but that now leave his congressional future in question.

Asked outside court if he planned to resign his seat, Grimm said no.

“I’m going to get back to work and work as hard as I can,” the Staten Island Republican said, shortly after he entered a guilty plea to one count of aiding in the filing of a false tax return.

Grimm had been set to go to trial in February on charges of evading taxes by hiding more than $1 million in sales and wages while running a Manhattan health-food restaurant.

After his court appearance, Grimm apologized for his actions, saying what he did was wrong.

“I should not have done it and I am truly sorry for it,” he said.

During the hearing, Grimm, joined in court by two attorneys, acknowledged sending his accountant underreported receipts and using the leftover money to pay employees off the books and cover other expenses.

Sentencing was scheduled for June 8. Prosecutors said a range of 24 to 30 months in prison would be appropriate, while the defense estimated the appropriate sentence as between 12 and 18 months.

Federal prosecutors did not immediately comment after the hearing.

News of the plea brought pressure from Democrats for Grimm to step down.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a statement earlier Tuesday that it was “past time for Michael Grimm to go,” calling his continued presence in Congress “a disservice to the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn and a stain on the institution.”

The DCCC and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to ensure Grimm’s departure.

Boehner has forced other lawmakers to resign for lesser offenses. Boehner does not plan to comment on Grimm’s situation until the two discuss it, Boehner’s spokesman said.