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Springfield Gardens man guilty of tax fraud: DA

By Sadef Kully

A Queens man has pleaded guilty to tax evasion for failing to pay more than $185,000 in taxes due to New York City in case a that the Queens district attorney’s office pursued for one year.

Maurice Letman and his corporation, MSM Arrangement LLC, which does business as Edible Arrangements s , were originally charged with second-degree grand larceny and fraudently violating state tax law, according to the Queens DA.

Letman, who has agreed to pay the stolen tax money, was scheduled to be sentenced March 2. The business will receive a conditional discharge, the DA said.

Queens DA Richard Brown said the defendant’s business collected in excess of $2 million in profits between 2007 and 2011, but failed to pay more than $100,000 in taxes owed. Between 2011 and 2013, Letman’s business earned just over $1.2 million yet the defendant claimed in required filings to have only taken in about $26,000 – cheating the city and state of another $50,000, according to the DA.

Brown said Letman has repaid over $90,000 and must still pay another $97,537. The total restitution to the city is $188,448.

As part of the plea deal, he signed an agreement with the state Department of Taxation to pay penalties and interest in excess of $200,000. the DA said.

Last year, Brown, joined by state Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas Mattox, announced tax evasion and fraud charges in four unrelated cases. In 2014, the Queens office also announced it had recovered an estimated $2.1 millions in unpaid taxes.

New York tax law generally places a three-year statute of limitations on tax audits, beyond which the Tax Department may not audit without written consent. The statute of limitations does not apply, however, for any period during which a taxpayer failed to file a return, failed to report federal changes, or filed a false or fraudulent return to evade tax.

In the Letman case, Mattox said, “The defendant admitted to willfully stealing tax dollars paid by customers, a crime that can’t be tolerated. We will continue to work with District Attorney Brown and other law enforcement partners to prosecute those who attempt to evade paying their fair share of taxes.”

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