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James Baldi Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

James Baldi Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

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A former accountant and Charlottesville restaurant owner pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge of tax evasion.

Fifty-year-old James Kirk Baldi is already serving time for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from businesses in the city and Albemarle County.

Baldi entered a guilty plea at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. He admitted that as his financial problems kept growing, he began to divert funds to cover the costs of his two restaurants.

Baldi waived his right to a preliminary hearing, pleading guilty to one count of failure to pay nearly $203,000 in taxes to the U.S. government.

Baldi, who owned the Bel Rio and Cantina restaurants, also operated an accounting firm for a number of businesses in 2009. Those businesses got notices from the IRS saying the taxes weren't paid.

In court, prosecutors said Baldi started a type of "kiting" scheme where he would use some of his clients' money to cover other client's tax obligations. All the while, he tried to balance or divert those funds to pay for personal expenses.

Baldi fled Charlottesville in July 2010 and was a fugitive until his arrest in California in January 2013.

Baldi could face a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

He is set to be sentenced September 12.

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