Edward J. Tutunjian, the owner of Boston Cab, pleaded guilty in US District Court in Boston Wednesday to federal tax and fraud offenses as part of a plea deal in which he will pay more than $2 million in fines and could face prison time.
Tutunjian, 66, pleaded guilty to payroll tax evasion, employing illegal immigrants, and failing to pay overtime wages.
His company, EJT Management Inc., through which he operates Boston Cab, was also charged with defrauding the Department of Housing and Urban Development by enabling EJT employees to obtain federal housing subsidies they were not entitled to. Tutunjian’s daughter, Mary Tarpy, who now runs the company, pleaded guilty on its behalf. The company has agreed to pay more than $200,000 in restitution under a plea agreement.
Tutunjian, known as the king of Boston’s taxi industry, was the subject of a 2013 Globe Spotlight report that showed widespread exploitation of workers in the industry.
Prosecutors said they will seek a prison term of at least two years, followed by 12 months of supervised release for Tutunjian.
Tutunjian faced a far worse sentence under sentencing guidelines. US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock questioned Wednesday whether Tutunjian was allowed to transfer his lucrative taxi medallions to his wife under the sentence agreement, but prosecutors said the deal was not related.
“There was no agreement, because the decision [allowing the transfer] was made by the Police Department,” Assistant US Attorney Michael Tabak told the judge.
Sentencing was set for Nov. 17.
Separately Wednesday, one of EJT Management Inc.’s managers pleaded guilty to failure to pay income taxes, a scheme that was detected during the investigation into Tutunjian.
Raffi Chapian, 44, of Waltham, faces six months in prison. He is set to be sentenced on Oct. 24.