Cleaning Company Pleads Guilty to Felony Tax Crime
Company Underreported Income by Over One Million Dollars to Evade $188,579.14 in Taxes
Owner Pleads Guilty to Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Tuesday,
January 9, 2018, Courtesy Maintenance, Inc., a Bronx-based commercial cleaning company whose owner lives in Cornwall, pled guilty before Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill, to the felony of Criminal Tax Fraud in Fourth Degree, for having underreported its income by $1,086,654.00, thereby evading taxes in the amount of $188,579.14. As part of the plea agreement placed on the record at the time the corporation pled guilty, the corporation and its owner will pay all the outstanding taxes on or before March 8, 2018, the date that the sentence will be imposed.
On Wednesday, January 10, 2018, the company’s owner, Alvaro Merino, 59, of Cornwall, pled guilty in Town of Cornwall Court to Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree and was sentenced to a conditional discharge.
The matter was referred to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, which had commenced the investigation into Merino and his company and their evasion of taxes. On October 31, 2017, an Orange County District Attorney’s Office criminal investigator filed complaints in the Town of Cornwall Court, charging Merino and the company with Criminal Tax Fraud.
In 2014, after David Hoovler became the Orange County District Attorney, the office began taking part in the Crimes Against Revenue Program (CARP). That program provides funding for an assistant district attorney to prosecute thefts of government funds. In 2016, Orange County was fourth highest in New York State in CARP recoveries.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Eric Parker.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for their initial investigation and referral of the case
“The evasion of taxes by filing fraudulent documents is something that cannot be tolerated,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “This case is only one example of the close working relationship that my office has developed with the Criminal Investigations Division of the New York State Tax Department and with the New York State Police. Certainly no one wants to pay taxes, and it is lawful to arrange your transactions and to seek guidance from tax professionals to lessen what you are required to pay. Hiding income and filing false documents, however, constitutes tax evasion, which is not only unlawful, but is not fair to those who pay taxes. Tax evasion diminishes the money available to fund police, firefighters, and other essential government services.”
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.