Crime

Reckwerdt’s sentencing scheduled for September

Marina owner and former Islamorada mayor Michael Reckwerdt is scheduled to be sentenced on his tax-fraud conviction on Sept. 21 at the Key West federal courthouse.

Last month, Reckwerdt, 47, admitted to under-reporting salaries paid to employees of several companies he controls, including his popular Robbie's Marina in Islamorada, to reduce payments to the Internal Revenue Service. He faces up to five years in prison.

His sentencing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in front of Judge Jose E. Martinez at the courthouse at 301 Simonton Street.

Reckwerdt has been free on $150,000 bond since U.S. Magistrate Lurana Snow ordered him held on June 19.

The IRS says Reckwerdt undereported more than $1 million from 2006 to 2010. Reckwerdt must pay the IRS $160,013.71 to settle his bill. He also faces a fine up to $250,000.

Through his attorney Ben Kuehne, Reckwerdt said he was sorry "for the tax law errors he made while operating his longstanding businesses in the Florida Keys."

"As an established member of the Florida Keys business community, Mr. Reckwerdt understands his obligation to be accurate in all his dealings with the IRS," Kuehne said in a statement. "He failed to do so, and is working with the IRS to rectify his mistake and pay all the taxes due. He has upgraded his accounting professionals, and is confident that his efforts going forward satisfy best business practices."

Kelly Jackson, special agent in charge of criminal investigations for the IRS' Miami office, said Reckwerdt "kept two sets of books for the compensation paid to the employees of his businesses. Part of the employees' compensation was properly accounted for, however, the other part of their compensation was paid in cash which underreported the employees' wages and caused an underpayment of employment taxes to the IRS.

"Once an employee's salary composition was determined by Reckwerdt, he instructed office employees to falsify the books by hiding and concealing the cash payments made to his employees."

Jackson continued, "Because of Reckwerdt's scheme, he not only defrauded the United States by not properly withholding and paying over his employment taxes, he potentially victimized legitimate businesses by creating an unfair competitive advantage over those businesses that are lawfully paying over their share of employment taxes."

Reckwerdt served on the Islamorada Village Council for more than eight years, up until 2012, when he was term-limited out

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