Gerard Terry, the former chairman of the North Hempstead Democratic Party, pleaded guilty to tax evasion on Thursday for failing to pay nearly $1 million in federal taxes.
Terry faces a maximum of five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $100,000 and mandatory restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors said Terry, an attorney, attempted to evade paying nearly $1.4 million in income tax despite earning over $250,000 per year since 2000 in his various government jobs.
Some of the entities Terry worked for included the Town of North Hempstead, Village of Port Washington, Village of Manorhaven, North Hempstead Housing Authority, Long Beach Housing Authority and the Freeport Community Development Agency.
Terry pleaded guilty to the second count of his indictment, which stated that he did “knowingly and willfully attempt to evade and defeat substantial income tax due and owing by him to the United States” and failed to pay $992,057.
Prosecutors said he did this by failing to timely file personal 1040 tax returns from 2000 to 2008 and 2011 through 2014, not properly recording his income in 2013 and 2015, and cashing over $500,000 of checks to avoid IRS collection.
They also said he created a checking account under the name of Neville Warwick LLC to conceal his income.
Stephen Scaring, Terry’s defense lawyer, was not immediately available for comment on Thursday but told Newsday that his client “took the please because his guilty” but that there are “a lot of mitigating factors that will result in leniency.”
Terry, a Roslyn Heights resident, was first arrested in April 2016 following a Newsday investigation showing he accumulated a $1.4 million tax debt while holding several local government posts.
Terry resigned from his chairman position in early 2016 and lost five of his six government contracts following the revelations of his state and federal tax debt.
This guilty plea follows Terry admitting guilt in county court to one count of state tax fraud and failing to pay $3,000 in taxes in September.
In that case, District Attorney Madeline Singas said that case “underscores the importance of enacting strong controls to ensure that government contractors are properly vetted and hired through an open, transparent, and competitive process.”
“It was the taxpayers who gave Gerard Terry most of his business, so his failure to pay his own share in taxes is all the more outrageous,” Singas said at the time.
Terry will be sentenced for tax evasion on January 16, a representative from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office said.