A Langdon business owner was sentenced to 90 days of imprisonment and three years of supervised release for failing to pay about $220,000 in payroll taxes withheld from employees' paychecks to the Internal Revenue Service.
Gerald Marcotte, the 24-year owner of Langdon-based lumberyard and construction store Marcotte Builders Supply, will self-surrender on Feb. 25. No fine was imposed as part of the sentence. He will pay $94,206.76 in restitution to the IRS in addition to a $100 special assessment fee.
An employee confirmed to the Herald Tuesday afternoon that Marcotte Builders Supply will remain open for business.
Marcotte, 62, pleaded guilty to one count of failure to truthfully account for and pay employment tax on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Nine related counts were dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Each count was associated with one fiscal quarter that he failed to remit payroll taxes withheld from employees' paychecks to the IRS from about October 2010 through January 2015.
According to court documents, Marcotte put the withheld funds toward his residential mortgage, financial investments and expenses incurred at local bars and restaurants.
Assistant United States Attorney Megan Healy clarified that no employees were victimized by Marcotte's crime, only the U.S. government.
During his plea and sentencing hearing, Marcotte highlighted the fact that he has lived and worked in Langdon for the majority of his 45-year career as a general contractor, and that many Langdon community members can vouch for his work ethic.
"Nobody in the community of Langdon has worked as hard as I have," Marcotte said.
Marcotte faced a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. District Judge Peter Welte said he took a number of factors into account before sentencing, including the fact that Marcotte was honest and cooperative with investigators, he has family members to take care of and a pre-sentence investigation found a very low likelihood that Marcotte would commit a repeat offense.
Marcotte's attorney Christopher Lancaster also noted that Marcotte brought the restitution payment for the IRS with him to court.
Still, Welte said he saw a need for deterrence.
"There's a difference between inadvertently not filing the right form or misinterpreting the right deductible, and withholding the proper amount and not remitting to the IRS," Welte said.
Healy told Welte the IRS became aware of the unpaid taxes when employees' W-2 forms showing the properly withheld taxes did not match up with other documents received by the IRS.
Lancaster said Marcotte's actions were "misguided," and that when faced with closing his business or finding an alternative, "he chose the alternative."
"Mr. Marcotte, you made some mistakes," Welte said during the sentencing hearing. "But that does not define you. Your life's work defines you."