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Press Release Former Laundromat Owner Found Guilty on Tax Fraud Charges

Defendant was Previously Sentenced to Jail for Stealing $200,000 by Tampering with Gas Meters
For immediate release:
1/10/2020
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for Former Laundromat Owner Found Guilty on Tax Fraud Charges

Alex Bradley

WorcesterThe former owner of multiple laundromats has been found guilty on charges in connection with failing to file tax returns for six years, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

Steven R. Bankert, age 62, of North Attleboro, was found guilty today following a two-day jury trial in Worcester Superior Court for Failure to File Tax Return (6 counts). Bankert is scheduled to be sentenced on February 7 in Worcester Superior Court.

“Our investigation revealed that this defendant was not only stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from gas companies, but he was defrauding the state by failing to file tax returns for a number of years,” AG Healey said. “We are pleased with this verdict and commend the collaborative work of investigators and prosecutors from our office and the Department of Revenue who handled this case.”   

“The Department of Revenue continues to work closely with the Attorney General’s Office to investigate and prosecute those in willful violation of state tax laws,” said Massachusetts Department of Revenue Acting Commissioner Kevin W. Brown. “As we approach the tax filing season, we would like to remind the public that disregard for Massachusetts tax laws and intentional failure to file hurts all honest Massachusetts taxpayers.”

The AG’s Office began its investigation of Bankert in August 2011 after Columbia Gas filed a complaint with the office. Bankert was previously found guilty in 2017 and sentenced to one year in jail and four years of probation on charges in connection with stealing more than $200,000 in natural gas. The AG’s investigation determined that from 2008 to 2012, Bankert, a formerly licensed electrician, tampered with 10 gas meters at six laundromats he owned in Attleboro, Brockton, Lawrence and Worcester for the purpose of stealing natural gas. The defendant’s sentence on the prior conviction is currently stayed, pending an appeal. These additional charges arose out of that investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Kristy Lavigne and Gabriel Thornton, of AG Healey’s White Collar and Public Integrity Division, with assistance from Investigator Jillian Petruzziello, Senior Victim Witness Advocate Megan Murphy, and investigators from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

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Media Contact for Former Laundromat Owner Found Guilty on Tax Fraud Charges

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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