DA Rice Announces Arrests in Tax Evasion Cases

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Defendants being prosecuted owe almost $1 million in taxes.

Mineola, NY - April 9, 2014 - Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arrest and arraignment of defendants, in three unrelated cases, charged with failing to pay taxes that help maintain parks, repair roadways, and fund other vital government services for Long Islanders.

“Everyone is required to report their income and pay the taxes they owe in a timely fashion, regardless of their occupation,” DA Rice said. “Those who fail to do so create a burden for other taxpayers – including the millions of people rushing to file ahead of the upcoming tax filing deadline. My office will continue to prosecute these cases to help ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.”

“These cases remind us that while the overwhelming number of New Yorkers do the right thing and comply with their tax obligations voluntarily, there are those who try to cheat the system, and by extension every other taxpayer," said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox. "That's why I commend District Attorney Rice and her team for diligently prosecuting these cases.”

Michael Collins, 49, of East Stroudsburg, Pa., was arrested and arraigned today by Nassau District Court Judge Douglas Lerose and charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the 1st Degree (an E felony), Perjury in the 3rd Degree (an A misdemeanor) and Criminal Tax Fraud in the 5th Degree (an A misdemeanor). Judge Lerose conditionally released Collins to probation. He is due back in court on April 15.

DA Rice said that on Nov. 19, 2012, Collins won $12,500 in the New York State Lottery, including $5,000 on a $1 Win 4 ticket, $5,000 on a $1 Win 4 ticket, and $2,500 on a $.50 Win 4 ticket. When he claimed his prize at the New York State Lottery Claim Center in Garden City on Nov. 20, 2012, Collins knowingly submitted a Prize Claim Receipt containing a false social security number to evade the payment of taxes on the prize.

At the time he claimed the prize, Collins owed $12,600 to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF) for failure to pay personal income taxes in 2007 on approximately $130,000 in lottery winnings that year. According to officials at the New York State Gaming Commission, all of Collins’s most recent winnings would have been forfeited to NYSDTF under the NYS Offset Program if he had provided his correct social security number at the time of the claim.
     
This case was referred to DA Rice’s office from the NYSDTF in March 2013.  

Gerard Losquadro, 61, of Garden City, was arrested and arraigned today before Judge Lerose and charged with Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree (a D felony), four counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the 1st Degree (an E felony), Criminal Tax Fraud in the 3rd Degree (a D felony), and Criminal Tax Fraud in the 4th Degree (an E felony). Charles DiMarino, 48, of East Norwich, was also arrested and arraigned today before Judge Lerose and charged with Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (a C felony), nine counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the 1st Degree (an E felony) and two counts of Criminal Tax Fraud in the 3rd Degree (a D felony). Judge Lerose released Losquadro and DiMarino on their own recognizance. They are due back in court on May 6.

DA Rice said Losquadro and DiMarino, as the former and current owner, respectively, of New Hyde Park Auto Body Works, failed to remit sales tax collected from customers to the NYSDTF from Sept. 1, 2009 to May 31, 2013 in the amount of $149,936.65. The corporation was also charged with Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree.

An investigation by NYSDTF of insurance claims filed with the state revealed that New Hyde Park Auto Body Works and its responsible parties were significantly underreporting gross sales. In December 2013, DA investigators obtained court ordered search warrants and additional records were seized.

Losquadro, the former owner, was the responsible party for New Hyde Park Auto Body Works from September 2009 to December 2010. During that time period, he failed to remit $27,588.39 of collected sales tax. DiMarino, the current owner, failed to remit $122,348.26 of collected sales tax from January 2011 to the present.  

Robert Cohan, 27, of East Rockaway, was arrested in 2013 and pleaded guilty in January 2014 to three counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, two counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, one count of Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, and one count of Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree. Cohan is due back in court for sentencing before Nassau County Court Judge Tammy Robbins on April 30.

DA Rice said that Cohan had stolen more than $300,000 from seven clients by promising to perform driveway repair work that was never performed. The victims, all over the age of 60, provided Cohan with full payment upfront including sales tax. Not only did Cohan not perform the work, he did not remit any of the sales taxes collected from his customers to the NYSDTF.  Instead, the defendant used the money to make bets at area Off-Track Betting establishments. The defendant also failed to file any personal income taxes from 2010 to 2012.

On taking the plea, prosecutors recommended a sentence of 2 to 6 years in prison. Cohan is also expected to pay restitution of $316,682 to the victims, plus restitution to the NYSDTF totaling $787,787.94.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew P. Sotirhos of DA Rice’s Economic Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case against Michael Collins, who is represented by Legal Aid Society.

Assistant District Attorney Meghan Lavine of DA Rice’s Economic Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case against Gerald Losquadro, who is represented by Fred Annibale, Esq.; and Charles DiMarino, who is represented by Alfred Amadio, Esq.

Assistant District Attorneys Edward Bradley and Vickie Curran of DA Rice’s Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau are prosecuting the case against Robert Cohan, who is represented by Edward Jenks, Esq.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.

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