Brooklyn, NY (WPIX)—A 9/11 hero pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stealing more than $1.3 million in business taxes from the government.
Former firefighter Thomas Casatelli, who is the principal business owner of the popular Bay Ridge bar The Black Kettle, admitted to swindling the city and state out of five years worth of taxes. He used a variety of scams including filing false returns and paying most of his employees off the books.
Casatelli has to pay back the stolen money and serve 90 days in jail as part of a plea deal. He is currently out on bail, and will face sentencing March 10.
"By failing to pay his taxes, the defendant stole from the pockets of honest taxpayers," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
This isn't the first time The Black Kettle has been in the center of a controversy. Back in April, a wild fight broke out inside the bar. An off-duty cop, a firefighter and a Port Authority police officer were injured in that incident.
Casatelli was a 9/11 first responder. He was driving a firetruck on September 11th when debris from The World Trade Center destroyed the truck. Four firemen on board were killed. Casatelli was the only survivor. He retired from the FDNY in 2004.