A White Plains man who owned two restaurant franchises at the city's Westchester Mall was charged with stealing more than $300,000 in state sales taxes, Acting Westchester County District Attorney James A. McCarty announced on Tuesday.
Peter Spagnuolo, 49, was arraigned on Monday on a felony complaint charging him with one count of second-degree larceny, a felony, and two counts of third-degree criminal tax fraud, felonies, McCarty said.
Following a joint investigation, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Tax Department determined Spagnuolo allegedly committed the felonies between March 1, 2009 and Jan. 31, 2015, according to McCarty.
Spagnuolo owned two restaurant franchises at the food court located at the Westchester Mall, the Desert Moon Café and Nathan’s, said McCarty.
He was required to collect sales tax from customers on behalf of New York State and to remit both sales tax payments and file sales tax returns, according to McCarty.
The investigation allegedly revealed that the defendant failed to file sales tax returns for either business, and also failed to remit sales tax funds collected by each business to the New York State Tax Department, McCarty said.
The total amount of sales tax funds collected and not remitted during this period was approximately $350,000, according to McCarty.
Spagnuolo is accused of not paying $67,927 in sales tax liability on the illegally obtained money for tax years 2014 and 2015, said McCarty.
“When a company or an individual fails to remit sales tax, as alleged here, it’s a crime against all New Yorkers because it denies the State and local governments funds they need to pay for a wide array of services,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone.
“We will continue to work with Acting District Attorney McCarty and all levels of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute tax evasion.”
Spagnuolo's bail was set at $5,000, and he is due in court on Aug. 16, according to McCarty.
He faces an indeterminate sentence, the maximum being five to 15 years in state prison, McCarty said.
Assistant District Attorney Nicole Gamble of the Investigations Division is prosecuting the case, according to McCarty.