George R. Gilmore, the Ocean County Republican chairman and New Jersey political kingmaker, may spend decades behind bars following a conviction Wednesday in federal court on two counts of failing to pay over to the IRS payroll taxes withheld from the firm’s employees and one count of making false statements on a bank loan application.
Gilmore, 69, part in the influential Gilmore and Monahan law firm, was acquitted by a jury in Trenton federal district court of two counts of filing false tax returns for calendar years 2013 and 2014. The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on one count of income tax evasion for calendar years 2013, 2014, and 2015. The verdicts were returned following a trial that began April 1, 2019.
The two counts of failing to collect, account for, and pay over payroll taxes each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The count of loan application fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 23, 2019.
Prosecutors alleged that Gilmore, whose firm represents numerous Shore towns, including Seaside Heights and Berkeley Township, worked as an equity partner and shareholder the firm, where he exercised primary control over the firm’s financial affairs. Because he exercised significant control over the law firm’s financial affairs, Gilmore was responsible for withholding payroll taxes from the gross salary and wages of the law firm’s employees to cover individual income, Social Security and Medicare tax obligations. For the tax quarters ending March 31, 2016, and June 30, 2016, the law firm withheld tax payments from its employees’ checks, but Gilmore failed to pay over in full the payroll taxes due to the IRS.
Gilmore also submitted a loan application to Ocean First Bank containing false statements. On Nov. 21, 2014, Gilmore reviewed, signed, and submitted to Ocean First Bank a Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA) to obtain refinancing of a mortgage loan for $1.5 million with a “cash out” provision that provided Gilmore would obtain cash from the loan. On Jan. 22, 2015, Gilmore submitted another URLA updating the initial application. Gilmore failed to disclose his outstanding 2013 tax liabilities and personal loans that he had obtained from others on the URLAs. Gilmore received $572,000 from the cash out portion of the loan.
The defense claimed during the trial that Gilmore was a hoarder and practiced poor financial decision-making, but did not criminally evade the IRS.