NYS Tax Department and Queens DA Announce the Arrest of 3 for Tax Fraud Gas station owners, florist, charged with failing to pay sale tax; both businesses operated without proper Certificate of Authority
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New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Jerry Boone, joined by Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, today announced the arrest of three individuals associated with two different businesses operating in Queens. All three were charged with tax-related felonies, as well as collecting taxes without the proper authority from the State.
"Tax evasion and operating without a valid Certificate of Authority are serious crimes that can result in arrest, prosecution and severe fines," said Commissioner Boone. "We gave both these businesses time to come into compliance, yet they flaunted the law and operated illegally and without adequately resolving their tax debt."
The cases will be prosecuted by the office of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, who said, "This is yet another example of business owners allegedly lining their own pockets with collected sales tax money that should have been remitted to the government. The city and state rely on collected taxes to fund programs and services for the public. Stealing tax revenue is a crime and makes every New Yorker a victim."
Merrick Gas Services
Rajpatee Rampersaud, 45, and her husband, Naren Rampersaud, 52, both of 11 Brian St., New Hyde Park, were charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Criminal Tax Fraud in the Second Degree, both felonies, as well as a misdemeanor for operating without a Certificate of Authority to collect sales tax.
Merrick Gas Services, Inc., a business operating as a CITGO gas station they own at 34-51 Bell Blvd., Bayside, is alleged to have failed to pay a total tax liability of $166,810 from September 2009 through May 2014. This tax liability is a combination of cigarette, sales, withholding and corporate taxes.
In order to collect sales tax, as required by law, businesses must have a valid Certificate of Authority (COA) from the NYS Tax Department. The Rampersauds failed to secure the appropriate license to sell cigarettes, as well.
Brian Marcus, 56, of 161-16 91st St., Howard Beach, is president of N.F.M.C. Corp. and Distinctive Wedding Designs For You, Inc., doing business as Glendale Florist, 78-17 Myrtle Ave., Glendale. He was charged with six counts of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Third Degree, Criminal Tax Fraud in the Second Degree, two counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, all felonies. He also faces a misdemeanor charge for failing to maintain a COA.
From December 2011 through February of this year, he failed to remit a total of $71,107 in sales tax to the State. Additionally, it is charged, he didn't file a personal income tax return for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014.
The defendants in both cases face up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
A criminal complaint is an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The investigations were conducted by the Tax Department's Civil Enforcement and Criminal Investigations Divisions with the assistance of Detective Elizabeth A. Curcio of the Queens District Attorney's Detective Bureau.
Assistant District Attorney Eleonora B. Rivkin, of the District Attorney Brown's Economic and Environmental Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Gregory C. Pavlides, Bureau Chief, and Christina Hanophy and Kristen A. Kane, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney of Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney Linda M. Cantoni.
Penalties for failing to register for sales tax
If a business is required to register for sales tax purposes but fails to do so, and the business operates without a valid Certificate of Authority, the responsible person will be subject to a penalty. The maximum penalty for operating a business without a valid Certificate of Authority is $10,000, imposed at the rate of up to $500 for the first day business is conducted without a valid Certificate of Authority, plus up to $200 per day for each day after.