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Council member sentenced for failing to file tax returns

Vinny Palermo.JPG
Posted at 10:18 AM, Dec 18, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — On September 16, Omaha City Councilman Vinny Palermo entered a guilty plea for three counts of failure to file income tax returns in 2012-2014. Today, he was sentenced to four years of probation and more than $50,000 combined in fines and restitution.

In Omaha federal court, the judge ordered Palermo to pay a fine of $35,000 and $21,000 in restitution.

Palermo says he accepts full responsibility and safeguards put in place that led to today's decision.

"I'm actually very relieved. this has been going on for about 3 years now and I appreciate the judge's verdict," Palermo explained. "I think those constituents that have supported me know who i am, and know where I'm from and in all honesty when you get knocked down you get back up and you fight harder and that's what my constituents expect and that's what I give them."

Palermo indicated he would pay the fine quickly, and he's already paid the restitution to the court clerk.

United States Attorney Joseph P. Kelly of the District of Nebraska's Office released the following:

United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that Vincent J. Palermo, 46, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced to 4 years of federal probation today before United States District Judge Brian C. Buescher for three counts of willful failure to file income tax returns for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 tax years. Judge Buescher also ordered that Palermo should pay a $35,000 fine along with $21,209 in restitution. As part of the probation requirement, Palermo must also complete 120 hours of community service.

Palermo pleaded guilty to an Information which alleged that he willfully failed to file federal income tax returns, commonly referred to as Form 1040, for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 tax years, even though he received gross income in those years of $145,434, $220,400, and $129,612, respectively. Defendant admitted in court that he failed to file returns within the time required by law.

“Mr. Palermo admitted in a courtroom to willfully violating the tax laws,” said Karl Stiften, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation. “As we approach filing season, it is important for people to have confidence that when they pay their taxes, their neighbors and co-workers are doing the same.”

This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Omaha City Councilman Brinker Harding shared this statement, calling for Palermo to step down as council vice president:

Earlier today, Omaha City Councilmember Vinny Palermo received his sentence of four (4) years’ probation and a $35,000 fine for willfully failing to file and pay federal income taxes for three (3) years. Mr. Palermo has accepted his sentence, and knowing him as I do, I am confident that he will successfully complete his probation without further violations.

Mr. Palermo told me when previously asked that he had no intentions of resigning from his position with the Omaha City Council. However, I believe it is in the best interest of Omaha taxpayers that he step down from his leadership position as vice president. As elected officials who have the important responsibility of approving the Mayor’s $1 billion budget which is funded by tax dollars, it is imperative that we lead with the highest ethical standards at all times. I believe in this instance that Mr. Palermo’s actions have violated the public’s trust.

It is not my intention to ask my fellow Councilmembers to consider any action to remove Mr. Palermo from the Omaha City Council. Ultimately, that decision should be made by his constituents in District 4. However, in the interim, I again ask that in the best interests of the taxpayers of Omaha that he step down from his position as vice president of the Omaha City Counci

Palermo will also have to do 120 hours of community service.