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Attorney pleads guilty to preparing false income tax return

Daniel Kornblatt leaves federal court in Central Islip

Daniel Kornblatt leaves federal court in Central Islip on Dec. 1, 2014. Credit: James Carbone

An attorney pleaded guilty Monday in Central Islip to federal charges that he prepared a false income tax return to help the founder of a high-end, hair-product company evade more than $6 million in taxes, authorities said.

Daniel Kornblatt entered the plea in the chambers of U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Wexler. But the judge said later that the proceedings were meant to be public, and he took the plea in chambers because his law clerk was overseeing jury selection in an unrelated case in his courtroom.

Wexler said Kornblatt admitted that he prepared the false tax return for Michael Gordon, the founder of Manhattan-based Bumble and Bumble. Kornblatt faces up to 3 years in prison when he is sentenced early next year after a probation report is completed, the judge said.

A spokeswoman for Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District, said Monday that Gordon had previously pleaded guilty, although there is no record of the plea in online court documents.

The spokeswoman provided a document showing Gordon, then 62, pleaded guilty on Dec. 10, 2013, to willfully evading taxes.

The spokeswoman declined to provide hometowns or addresses for both men and declined to reveal any information about Kornblatt's background.

Kornblatt and his attorney, Edward V. Sapone of Manhattan, refused to comment after they left the judge's chambers and entered a public corridor. Gordon's attorney as listed on court documents, Patricia A. Pileggi of Manhattan, did not return telephone calls for comment.

In November 2012, Gordon was arrested on a sealed complaint on charges of failing to report as income a payment of $29.6 million he received in 2006 from Estee Lauder when that Melville-based cosmetics acquired Bumble and Bumble. At the time, Gordon's firm had about 1,400 hair salons worldwide and sold its own products at select retailers.

The judge said Gordon and Kornblatt are jointly responsible for paying the government $6.1 million in evaded income taxes.

An agent of the Internal Revenue Service left the courthouse with prosecutors, but declined to comment. An IRS spokesman did not return telephone calls for comment. Online court records show that Gordon, born in England, was originally held without bail. He was later released $4 million bond, but with travel restrictions. He was granted permission in last May, and again last July, to visit relatives in Montauk, the court records show.

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