Whitestone man pleads guilty to tax theft from L.I. business

Whitestone man pleads guilty to tax theft from L.I. business
Photo courtesy Nassau County DA
By Kelsey Durham

A Whitestone man pleaded guilty this week to allegations that he failed to pay more than $300,000 in taxes from sales at his two auto businesses in Great Neck, L.I., according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Joseph Caraccia, 65, entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of petit larceny while his two corporations, Auto Body Works and Auto Body Works II, both on Shore Road, each pleaded guilty to a Class C felony charge of second-degree grand larceny.

The DA’s office said Caraccia illegally pocketed $335,000 that he failed to report to the state Department of Taxation and Finance as sales tax from his shops during a three-year period from 2009-12.

Caraccia was arrested in October 2012 after the DA’s office said it received a tip that led to the discovery of discrepancies between taxes paid to the business owner’s stores by insurance companies and the amount of taxes he reported to the state. A search warrant executed at his shop turned up business records that were audited and led to both corporations being formally charged Dec. 18, 2013, according to the DA’s office.

Rice denounced the criminal activity and said she would continue to “aggressively prosecute” crimes of this nature in order to return the money to the state.

“When a company or an individual fails to remit taxes, it’s a crime against all New Yorkers,” Rice said. “By pocketing this money, Mr. Caraccia took funding away from services that any resident of Long Island or beyond could rely upon.”

Caraccia agreed to pay restitution to the Department of Taxation and Finance for the full amount owed in two payments, with the final being paid on the date of his sentencing.

He is scheduled to be sentenced by Nassau County Criminal Court Judge Susan Kluewer May 22.

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurham@cnglocal.com.

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