Two Long Island auto shops and their owner have been convicted of underreporting more than $8 million in taxable sales over the course of a decade, authorities said.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Friday, March 26 that Freeport resident Luis Crespo, the owner of Broadway Towing, Inc. and Broadway Auto & Towing, Inc. pleaded guilty to criminal tax fraud for failing to pay more than $700,000 in sales tax.
Crespo, 53, also pleaded guilty to petit larceny and agreed to pay the state more than $900,000 in restitution.
James said that between 2009 and 2018, a joint investigation by the Office of the Attorney General’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division found that Crespo collectively underreported a total of more than $8 million in taxable sales, and failed to remit more than $700,000 in sales tax collected from his two auto body repair shops.
“There’s no award presented to those who partake in tax evasion, but Broadway Towing’s performance has ensured the company finally pays New York state more than $900,000 in restitution, interest, and penalties,” James said. “Today’s convictions should serve as a clear reminder that we will never tolerate those who seek to defraud our state out of its owed tax revenue, especially as we continue to face budget shortfalls.
“The lights have finally dimmed on Broadway Towing’s fraud.”
In addition to the restitution, Crespo was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge, James announced. He has already paid $160,000 in restitution to the Tax Department, she noted.
“Business owners who tilt the playing field for their own personal gain not only violate the trust of their community, they rob it of critical funding for public programs and services,” Commissioner Michael Schmidt said. “This is hundreds of thousands of dollars that would have helped improve lives in local neighborhoods, but instead they were siphoned off for personal profit.”
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