The owner of six Papa John’s restaurants in Queens has agreed to pay fines and restitution of nearly $500,000 to settle claims that he and his businesses underreported state sales taxes between 2005 and 2010.
In a statement issued with state Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas Mattox, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown on Friday said Syed Mehboob, 45, of Syosset, LI, pleaded guilty on April 29 to a misdemeanor and received a conditional discharge.
Mehboob owns Papa John’s pizza franchises in Astoria, Corona, Woodside, Bayside and Sunnyside. He was arrested last August. Each of his companies was considered a separate defendant.
Brown said Mehboob and the companies admitted that they stole $226,017 in state sales taxes. They have been ordered to pay the full amount, with fines, interest and penalties bringing the final tab to $497,021.
“This is the prefect example of a merchant flagrantly stealing the public’s money — the type of fraud that cheats honest business owners who play by the rules,” Mattox said.