Landfill operator sentenced in tax case

Glen Burnie man underreported income

November 28, 2001|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A former city landfill operator was sentenced in federal court in Baltimore yesterday to serve one year in a halfway house for failing to report about $400,000 in income in the mid-1990s.

U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis also recommended that Manus Edward Suddreth serve his sentence on work release, but fined him $5,000, ordered him to serve five years of supervised release and pay his back taxes.

Suddreth, who owned the Patapsco Excavating Co., was convicted by a jury July 19 of underreporting his income on federal tax returns for 1993 and 1994.

The evidence showed that he had hidden income by depositing customer checks into his personal accounts and using money from his business account to cover personal expenses, prosecutors said yesterday. They also said Suddreth had failed to file any federal tax returns since 1996 and that he misled his accountant on the returns he filed in 1993 and 1994.

"He knew he was getting a nice big tax break, and he ought to be punished for it," said Andrew J. Kameros, a Justice Department tax lawyer who prosecuted the case with Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Kravitz.

Suddreth, 56, of Glen Burnie reported earning $76,894 in 1993 and $4,700 in 1994, though federal authorities estimated that he earned more than $329,000 in 1993 and $165,000 in 1994, prosecutors said.

Suddreth's 32-acre landfill in the Lakeland area of Southwest Baltimore was the source of repeated complaints from neighbors in the nearby Belle Grove community in the early 1990s.

Both Suddreth and Patapsco Excavating, which closed in 1994, pleaded guilty in Anne Arundel Circuit Court in 1996 to illegally accepting solid waste at the site, which could legally accept only "clean fill," such as concrete and construction site debris. Suddreth was given a suspended $50,000 fine, a one-year suspended sentence, three years' probation and ordered to do a beautification project.

Yesterday, Garbis agreed to shave several months off Suddreth's sentence based on defense arguments that as a self-educated high school dropout, he depended heavily on advice from his accountant, Mark Einstein, in completing his tax returns. "I think he signed whatever Einstein put in front of him," Garbis said.

Gregg L. Bernstein, Suddreth's lawyer, also argued that his client worked 14-hour days and gave money and other assistance to a number of friends over the years. Dozens of people wrote letters expressing support for Suddreth, Bernstein said.

"There are literally hundreds of people who would've come in to this courtroom today to show support if we had asked," Bernstein said.

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