The owner of a Woodside nightclub has been hit with a $1 million fine for fudging his numbers.
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Mamajuana Cafe Queens, a Dominican restaurant and bar located at 33-15 56th St., and its owner Oscar Monegro, pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, including grand larceny and criminal tax fraud.
Between December 2012 and February 2020, Monegro collected at least $1 million in sales tax from customers to his business, Culturas Fiesta Corporation, doing business as Mamajuana Queens. He underreported sales and failed to send the sales tax collected to New York state as required by law.
“The defendant and his business, Culturas Fiesta Corporation, admitted guilt in stealing at least a million dollars in tax revenue paid by customers in order to line his own pockets,” Katz said. “Tax evasion hurts our economy and diverts funding away from vital public programs. This will not stand in Queens County, and we thank the State Department of Taxation and Finance for their partnership infringing the defendant to justice. He has been ordered to pay restitution, which will help fund community services.”
Mamajuana Queens is at the intersection of Broadway and 56th Street just south of Northern Boulevard. NYS Tax Department Investigators uncovered the crimes by analyzing sales tax and corporation tax returns. In all, Monegro was ordered to pay back $1 million in restitution.
“Business owners who steal sales tax paid by their customers deprive their communities of revenue for vital public programs and services and put law-abiding businesses at a competitive disadvantage,” Acting New York State Commissioner of Tax and Finance Amanda Hiller said. “We’ll continue to work with all our partners in law enforcement to uncover tax evasion and level the playing field for all businesses.”
Mamajuana is a spiced alcoholic drink that is popular in the Dominican Republic made by the infusion of rum, red wine and honey that is left to ferment in jars with tree bark, honey and spices for months at a time.
Tax evasion and fraud can be reported at the Tax Department’s website or by phone at 518-457-0578. The information is kept confidential and the Tax Department promptly reviews each complaint and tax corrective action when appropriate, officials said.