PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Ann Harris had nothing to say Tuesday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud the IRS.
She’s accused of helping her boss disguise the building of a sprawling mansion and estate in Bell Acres as a business expense and bilking the government out of an estimated $4 million in taxes.READ MORE: Openings Still Available For AHN Johnson And Johnson Vaccine Clinic In Monroeville By Appointment Only
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “Are you sorry for your participation in this, ma’am?”
In open court, she agreed with the government that as personal assistant and secretary to businessman Joseph Nocito Sr. she defrauded the IRS by claiming about $20 million in his personal expenditures as businesses expenses.
Those include the building of the Bell Acre mansion, the pool and mural, payments to his personal staff of butlers and cooks, and the purchase of exotic cars such as a Maserati, Bentley, Rolls Royce and Ferrari.
The plea agreement says she did this on behalf of a person identified only as co-conspirator No. 1, but can be identified as Nocito by the association with his various companies.READ MORE: WATCH: Girl Challenges Pittsburgh Police Officer And Former Pitt Football Player To Race
Her attorney James DePasquale said as an employee, Harris was only following orders.
“She did what she was told, and now she’s telling what she did,” said DePasquale.
But in court the U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Harris was paid millions over the years, $412,000 in 2012 alone, and that she knowing and willfully defrauded the government.
Nocito has not been charged, but under her plea agreement Harris is cooperating with the government investigation.
“The plea agreement merely requires if she’s called upon to testify that she testify truthfully, and she will,” DePasquale said.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Warm Saturday, Chances Of Thunderstorms