Auto Body Shop Owner Pleads Guilty to Cheating on Sales Taxes

Auto Body Shop Owner Pleads Guilty to Cheating on Sales Taxes

An East Elmhurst auto body shop and its owner have pleaded guilty to bilking the city and state out of collectible tax revenue and agreed to make $451,848.82 in criminal and civil restitution, including interest and penalties, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and state Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Jerry Boone.

Victor Izquierdo, 52, pleaded guilty last week to petit larceny, and his corporation, Autobody by Victor, Inc., which does business as Victor’s Collision & Towing, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud.

As part of his plea agreement, Izquierdo will make restitution of $195,975.35 in unremitted sales tax to Taxation and Finance and be sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge. The corporation will receive an unconditional discharge.

In a closing pact with Taxation and Finance that was executed last Friday, Brown said, Izquierdo and the corporations, Vicrob Corp., Autobody By Victor, Inc., and ABV 107, Inc., agreed to remit to the Tax Department the sum of $451,848.82, which represents full payment and satisfaction of Sales and Compensation Use Tax of $195,975.35, penalties of $48,070.05, and interest of $207,803.42 accrued through last Thursday.
According to the criminal charges initially filed in the case, Izquierdo and his related auto collision businesses collected over $3 million in taxable auto repair sales from GEICO, Progressive, Travelers, Allstate and Nationwide insurance companies between March 1, 2008, and Feb. 28, 2013. Izquierdo only reported taxable vehicle repairs totaling $1,223,229.

Vehicle repairs are subject to both state and city taxes. Based on the charges filed in September 2014, Izquierdo and his companies collected but failed to remit just over $150,000 in sales tax owed to the state and city.  A review of additional records subsequent to the defendants being charged criminally revealed an additional theft of $45,000 in sales tax, Brown said.

“This case sends a powerful message: If you operate a business you must meet your sales tax obligations in a voluntary, timely manner, or face a stiff penalty for not doing so,” Boone added.



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