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Department of Taxation and Finance

Rochester Furniture Store Owner Arrested for Sales Tax Fraud Charged with collecting $100,000 from customers and not remitting it to the State

For Release: Immediate,

For press inquiries only, contact: James Gazzale, 518-457-7377

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance announced today that the owner of two furniture stores in Rochester, NY has been arrested for sales tax evasion.

The defendant, charged with 14 separate criminal counts, is John T. Kujawa, 66, of 87 Dundee Dr., Rochester.  He was arrested February 18 and arraigned in Rochester City Court.

The charges include one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and four counts of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree.  On the top charge, the maximum sentence could carry up to 15 years in jail.

Kujawa is the owner and operator of two Affordable Furniture stores, one at 491 Elmgrove Ave., the other at 2247 Clifford Ave.  Between December 2008 and March 2013, court documents say, the defendant collected $100,364 in sales tax from customers purchasing furniture at these retail outlets - but he underreported those sales and failed to remit the tax to the State as required by law.

The case was investigated by the Tax Department's Criminal Investigations Division and will be prosecuted by the Monroe County District Attorney's Office.  The defendant's next court date is scheduled for March 25.

A criminal complaint is an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Each year, New York State businesses collect more than $25 billion in sales tax from their customers. The vast majority of the funds (97%) are remitted voluntarily by businesses to the Tax Department for state programs and distribution to local governments.

Taxpayers who believe a business hasn't collected the proper sales tax, or has collected it but failed to remit the funds, can report tax evasion and fraud online at the Tax Department's Web site or by calling 518-457-0578. The information is kept confidential.