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Queens Chronicle

DA keeps eye on tax season

Company owners cited for alleged sales tax issues

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Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:30 am

April is also tax season at the office of Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Brown on Thursday announced the filing of tax-related complaints against two Queens businesses and their owners.

Brown’s office identified the defendants on one case as MSM Management, which does business as Edible Arrangements of 132-22 Springfield Boulevard in Springfield Gardens, and its owner, Maurice Letman, 34, also of Springfield Gardens.

Both were charged at an April 3 arraignment with second-degree grand larceny and criminal tax fraud.

In a second case, Michelangelo Causi, 59, of Howard Beach, and his Middle Village business, Michael’s Automotive and Bodyworks, Inc., were arraigned Wednesday.

Charges included second- and third-degree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, first- and second-degree scheme to defraud and third-degree criminal tax fraud.

The district attorney alleges that Letman and his company failed to report taxable sales of nearly $2.2 million between March 2007 and February 2013 and, as a result, “stole more than $100,000 in sales tax that they collected from customers but did not forward to the state Department of Taxation and finance.”

Causi and his business are charged with underreporting more than $707,000 in taxable repair sales, and allegedly failing to pay more than $62,300 in state and city taxes.

Both individuals face up to 15 years in prison. I the case of a corporation, a felony is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or twice the amount of the illegal gain.

“When consumers pay sales taxes they expect those funds to go into the public treasury and not to be illegally pocketed by business owners,” Brown said in a statement released by his office. “These types of paper crimes make every New Yorker a victim by cheating the government and public that is necessary to maintain services and infrastructure.”

The district attorney cited a third case of two people who have received conditional releases and were hit with heavy restitution costs following guilty pleas in recent months to filing state tax returns and claiming benefits to which they were not entitled.

Brown said Mohammed Liton Khan, 56, of 81st Street in Ozone park, and Kazi Alamgir, 53, of Jamaica, both pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme in which more than 350 New York State returns for 2009 were filed in a nine-nonth period of 2010, “fraudulently seeking more than $6 million in tax credits to which the taxpayers were not eligible to claim.”

Khan pleaded guilty in January to fifth-degree criminal tax fraud before Queens Criminal Court Judge Gene Lopez. He was ordered to pay a fine of $9,500.

Alamgir pleaded guilty in November 2013 to disorderly conduct before Queens Criminal Court Judge Pauline Mullins. He paid $25,000 in restitution and is required to pay an additional $25,000 by December.

Brown also took the opportunity to remind people that they should be selective when choosing someone to prepare their taxes, as any unscrupulous action on the part of a preparer can affect the taxpayer’s financial liability.

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