“I’m completely remorseful for the actions that brought me here today,” said Bennett Orfaly, who pleaded guilty in April to one count of tax fraud. “What troubles me the most is the embarrassment I brought to my name, myself and mostly my children.”
But federal Judge Pamela Chen was less than convinced.
“What I have not heard is any remorse about what he has done to the public,” she said, adding that Orfaly has done nothing to change his “high-flying” lifestyle that includes a $6,000-a-month, six-bedroom home and luxury cars.
“Someone who is remorseful would scale back their lifestyle and realize there is a debt due. It doesn’t speak to someone who understands the seriousness of the crime,” Chen said.
Orfaly, 52, who once co-owned Upper East Side restaurant Healthalicious with the disgraced congressman, was charged with bilking the IRS out of more than $700,000 in taxes by understating receipts by $3.5 million at five of his restaurants.
The hour-long proceeding included multiple references to Grimm’s case.
The former FBI agent-turned-politico copped to tax evasion for hiding more than $900,000 in profits at Healthalicious and was sentenced to eight months.
But Chen found Orfaly’s conduct, which spanned from 2009 to 2012, was on a “much greater magnitude” and “significantly different” to that of Grimm’s.
“This was fraud by design for a long period of time,” the judge said.
Orfaly was also ordered to pay back $717,527 in restitution and re-file all delinquent tax returns.
The embattled restaurateur is a close associate of jailed Gambino mobster Anthony “Fat Tony” Morelli, who is linked to the late don John Gotti.
Of Orfaly’s five pita restaurants, two are out of business and three are still operating, his lawyer James DiPietro said.
“I am pleased at the sentence imposed,” DiPietro said outside the courtroom.
Grimm, a former Marine, had been indicted on 20 charges, including cheating on his taxes, employing illegal immigrants and lying under oath.
The Republican resigned after pleading guilty last December to a single count of tax evasion.