No prison time for ex-city employee who admitted to manipulating tax records

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A former deputy tax collector who admitted he manipulated Providence tax records to avoid having his home placed on the city’s tax sale list will not serve prison time for his crime.

In a deal struck with state prosecutors in April, Marc Castaldi pleaded no contest to filing a false document with a public official and agreed to not seek re-employment with the city, according to Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.

Castaldi was originally charged with accessing a computer for fraudulent purposes, a felony that carried a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Kempe said the city of Providence approved of the plea agreement, which allows the misdemeanor to be removed from Castaldi’s criminal record after one year.

“The reason the charge was amended was based upon him not having any prior record, the fact that the defendant was a 20-plus-year city employee and had agreed to resign and not seek re-employment with the city,” Kempe told WPRI.com. “The city had been made whole and was in agreement with the disposition in light of his resignation.”

Castaldi, who worked for the city since 1984, was arrested in May 2014 after a city audit showed he used a computer to “conceal the amount of taxes owed so as not reach the level required to be placed on the tax sale list,” according to a police report obtained by WPRI.com.

The report said Castaldi adjusted the amount of interest owed to the city on his home located at 75 King Philip Street “on several occasions between the 2005 and 2013 tax years. A review of Providence tax records shows the house has an assessed value of $119,900.

“I did for me what I would do for any citizens that was facing a hardship,” Castaldi told police at the time. He admitted that he made alterations “to tax records affecting his property” after facing financial problems, according to the report.

By not having his home placed on the city tax sale list, he avoided paying a $300 penalty.

Castaldi did not return a request for comment Tuesday. He resigned from city employment at the end of 2014. Payroll records show he earned $78,856 a year.

A spokesman for Mayor Jorge Elorza said the city agreed not to go after Castaldi’s pension in exchange for him repaying what he owed the city. The agreement came at the end of 2014, before Elorza took office.

This report has been updated.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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