White-Collar Crime

Ex-Prosecutor in NJ and Veteran Md. Defense Lawyer Take Plea in Tax Cases; Both to Be Disbarred

A New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who formerly worked as a Hudson County prosecutor had taken a plea in a tax evasion case and agreed to give up his law license.

Francis S. Cutruzzula, 48, admitted to a federal judge in Newark today that he hadn’t filed a tax return in more than a decade and attributed his failure to do so to a gambling addiction, reports the Record. He made a six-figure income from his law practice, according to authorities, but didn’t report any of the income.

He is expected to be sentenced in December.

Meanwhile, a well-regarded veteran criminal defense lawyer in Maryland who reportedly had more than $1 million in cash in his home and law office when they were raided by the feds earlier this year also pleaded guilty in an unrelated tax evasion case late last month and agreed to disbarment, reports the Baltimore Sun.

Stanley Needleman, who is nearing 70, reportedly was targeted for a joint investigation by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service after the IRS apparently compared his tax records with revenue he could be expected to make in practice and decided the two didn’t match. He specialized in handling drug cases.

He, too, will be sentenced in December and has agreed to pay around $1 million to the government in back taxes and forfeited funds.

“Stanley has definitely stumbled, but he’s been a great lawyer for a long time,” his defense attorney, Kenneth W. Ravenell, told the newspaper. “He made a mistake, he was a man and admitted his mistake, and he’s going to move forward in his life. We expect he’ll continue to do positive things for others and positive things in his community, because he’s that type of person.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Criminal Defense Lawyer Accused of Hoarding $1.3M in Client Payments to Evade Income Tax”

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