A onetime business partner of former U.S. Representative Michael Grimm is preparing to plead guilty to a tax charge in a case related to the prosecution that led to the congressman's imprisonment, his lawyer said on Tuesday.
Prosecutors in a filing in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, on Monday said they intend to file charges against Bennett Orfaly, Grimm's former partner in Healthalicious, a restaurant at the center of the Republican politician's criminal case.
James DiPietro, Orfaly's lawyer, in an interview said his client is "hoping to reach a quick resolution with a plea to a tax count."
The filing on Monday said the case would relate to the one against Grimm, who represented a district in the New York City borough of Staten Island. Grimm was sentenced in July to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to tax fraud.
DiPietro said that while the case stemmed from the investigation of Grimm, Orfaly will be charged in connection with other restaurants he owned. A deal could come as soon as next week or the following, he said.
A spokeswoman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers and a lawyer for Grimm both declined comment. The expected plea was first reported by the New York Daily News.
Grimm, a former Marine who subsequently worked as an FBI agent, was elected in 2010 with a wave of conservative "Tea Party" Republicans advocating low taxes and government spending, but built a moderate voting record.
From 2007 to 2010, Grimm oversaw the day-to-day operations of Healthalicious, which he co-founded with Orfaly, according to authorities.
At a court hearing in 2012, a prosecutor, Anthony Capozzolo, said Orfaly had ties to a member of the Gambino family, Anthony Morelli, who was sentenced in 1996 to 20 years in prison in connection with a gas tax fraud.
That statement came during a bail hearing for a former campaign fundraiser for Grimm, Ofer Biton, who later pleaded guilty to visa fraud in 2013.
Grimm was subsequently indicted in April 2014 on tax charges related to Healthalicious andpleaded guilty that December to aiding and assisting the preparation of a false tax return.
Prosecutors said Grimm under-reported wages paid to workers, many of whom did not have legal status in the United States, and concealed over $900,000 in Healthalicious' gross receipts from an accountant who prepared the restaurant's tax returns.