Say M. V. Auto Body Owner Stole Tax $

DA: Business Pocketed Thousands From State

A Middle Village auto body shop owner appeared in court last Thursday, Apr. 10, to answer to charges that he and his business allegedly stole thousands in sales tax revenue from the state, it was reported.

Michelangelo Causi, 59, of 95th Street in Howard Beach, owner of Michael’s Automotive and Bodyworks Inc. at 69-01 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village, faces charges of second- and thirddegree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records, firstdegree offering a false instrument for filing and second-degree scheme to defraud and third-degree criminal tax fraud.

Law enforcement sources said Michael’sAutomotive underreported more than $900,000 in payments received from various insurance companies for taxable vehicle repairs performed between Sept. 1, 2008 and Feb. 28, 2011.

According to prosecutors, Causi and his business allegedly filed state tax returns which omitted about $707,000 in repair sales and failed to pay an additional $62,301.94 in sales and city taxes.

During last Thursday’s arraignment, Judge Erica Koenderman released Causi without bail and ordered him and company representatives to return to court on May 20.

The charges were announced last Thursday by Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown and State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox.

“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. “These types of paper crimes make every New Yorker a victim by cheating the government and the public out of money that is necessary to maintain services and infrastructure.”

“Whether it’s a business or an individual, tax evasion is a crime that impacts honest New Yorkers,” Mattox added. “We will continue to work closely with all levels of law enforcement to stop tax fraud, level the playing field for honest taxpayers and bring tax criminals to justice.”

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael- Sean Spence of the DA’s Special Proceedings Bureau’s Crimes Against Revenue Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Andrew H. Kaufman, unit chief; Anthony M. Communiello, bureau chief; and Oscar W. Ruiz, deputy bureau chief.

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