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Queens Chronicle

Used car dealership charged with fraud

Woodside owners wait arraignment

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Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 2:20 pm, Thu Dec 13, 2012.

The husband and wife owners of a Woodside used car dealership are being charged with tax fraud in connection with their operation.

In addition, the dealership’s former finance manager was charged with defrauding 23 car buyers out of more than $115,000 in cash through a phony refinance scheme, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

The owners of Auto Palace, Inc., at 53-21 Northern Blvd., Hooshmand “Danny” Kohanano, 54, and his wife, Fereshteh “Jenny” Kohanano, 41, both of Great Neck, LI, are waiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on about 60 counts ranging from larceny to fraud.

If convicted, the defendants face up to 25 years in prison and, in the case of a corporation, a felony is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or double the amount of the illegal gain.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, between Sept. 1, 2006 and Nov. 30, 2009, the Hooshmands and Auto Palace, Inc. allegedly stole more than $728,844 in state and local sales taxes that they collected from buyers, but did not forward to the government, Brown said.

In the second case, Julio Estrada, also known as Jay Torres, 37, of Hackettstown, NJ, who was formerly employed as the dealership’s finance manager, are waiting arraignment in Queens Supreme Court on a 95-count indictment.

According to the charges, to entice customers to go through with their car purchases, it is alleged that Estrada promised customers that after six months of on-time payments, they could come back and see him at the dealership and refinance their loans at a better rate and thus lower their monthly payment by hundreds of dollars.

It is additionally alleged that when customers returned to Auto Palace and met with Estrada, he would tell them that there was a “fee” or “down payment” – ranging from $1,000 to as much as $13,000 – that they had to pay in cash in order to refinance their loan.

At other times, it is alleged that Estrada would misrepresent himself as a banker in order to give the appearance that he was able to refinance a car loan.

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