District Attorney Vance Announces Indictments and Guilty Pleas in Sales Tax Cases.

A press release from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.: 

 Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the indictment of the head of a security guard company and two corporations for stealing more than $1.2 million from the State of New York by withholding collected sales taxes from the State. District Attorney Vance also announced the guilty pleas or indictment of four restaurant owners for stealing more than $1 million in collected sales tax.
 
“These cases uncovered nearly $2.5 million in unpaid sales taxes misappropriated from and owed to the City and State,” said District Attorney Vance. “My Office will continue to vigorously pursue these types of cases to level the playing field for honest business owners. And, at a time when cuts to our City and State budgets threaten basic public services, we will find and return desperately needed taxes owed and hold accountable those who steal from the public coffers.”
 
Safe & Secured Protective Services, Inc.:
 
ABDUR RASHID SALAAM and his two companies, SAFE & SECURED PROTECTIVE SERVICES, INC. and T.S.I. SPECIAL SERVICES, INC., have been indicted on felony charges of Grand Larceny in the First and Second Degrees for stealing more than $1.2 million by withholding collected sales taxes from the State of New York. In addition, SALAAM and SAFE & SECURED PROTECTIVE SERVICES have been charged with Criminal Tax Fraud in the Second Degree for failing to pay over to New York collected sales taxes, and SALAAM, personally, has been charged with repeated failure to file his personal income tax returns.
 
As charged in the indictment and described in court documents, New York tax laws require providers of taxable services to invoice for sales taxes, collect sales taxes from customers, file periodic returns with New York State and turn over the collected sales taxes to the New York State Tax Department. SALAAM’s companies provided security guards to residential facilities in Manhattan and other boroughs, and invoiced and collected sales taxes from those residential facilities. Instead of turning the collected sales taxes over to the state, as required by state law, SALAAM kept the collected sales tax and diverted significant portions of the sales tax monies to himself, compensating himself generously yet also failing both to file non-resident income tax returns with New York or pay taxes to New York for years.
 
 
 
Since 2003, SALAAM orchestrated the unlawful withholding of more than $1.2 million in collected sales taxes from New York State. More than $800,000 was stolen in the form of sales tax collected and kept by T.S.I. SPECIAL SERVICES, and more than an additional $450,000 was stolen in the form of sales taxes collected and kept by SAFE & SECURED PROTECTIVE SERVICES.
 
 
Four Restaurant Owners Withheld More than $1.1Million:
 
ROLANDO LANTIGUA, the owner of Rancho Jubilee, Inc. and El Generalissimo Restaurant, Inc. (doing business as Hispaniola Restaurant) recently pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, and Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony. LANTIGUA admitted that during the period of March 1, 2002 through November 30, 2008, he stole a total of $341,226 in New York State and New York City sales tax collected by his Rancho Jubilee Restaurant, located at 1 Nagle Avenue, and $290,126 in sales tax collected by Hispaniola Restaurant, located at 839 West 181st Street. In addition, KISHA LANTIGUA, his wife and the co-owner of Hispaniola Restaurant, pleaded guilty to Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor.
 
ROLANDO LANTIGUA has agreed to pay $802,104 in restitution to the City and State, which includes the unremitted principal sales tax from both restaurants and two additional businesses -- the Trio’s Café & Lounge, Inc., doing business as Arka Lounge, and Fogarate Cigar, Inc., doing business as Fumee Cigar. ROLANDO LANTIGUA is scheduled to be sentenced May 6, 2010, to 44 weeks of intermittent imprisonment, and KISHA LANTIGUA is scheduled to be sentenced to pay a $1,000 criminal fine.
 
In a similar case, POWERS CHANG, the former franchisee owner of various eateries, including a Subway located at 261 Fifth Avenue, in Manhattan, pleaded guilty in late March to filing a false sales return that under-reported the collected sales tax. CHANG pleaded guilty to Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a Class E felony, and agreed to pay $307,433 in sales tax, accrued interest and penalties. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 4, 2010, and will pay a criminal fine of $5,000 and perform 75 hours of community service.
 
In addition, a case is pending against MICHAEL ORTEGA, owner of the now closed El Rey del Sol Restaurant. ORTEGA was arraigned recently on an indictment charging him with a single felony count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, stemming from his failure to remit $138,000 in sales tax. The criminal conduct spans a 6 ½ year the period (from December 1, 2002 until August 31, 2008), when the restaurant operated at 232 W. 14th Street, in Manhattan. He surrendered voluntarily from out of state and is next scheduled to appear in court in May 26, 2010. He was released on his own recognizance and surrendered his passport.
 
District Attorney Vance thanked New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Jamie Woodward and Deputy Commissioner William Comiskey for the assistance of the Department on all four matters. Auditors Ronald Chan and Joseph Karrott of the Tax Department and Michael Schenk, Carol Hackett, and Mary E. Murphy of the New York City Department of Finance assisted in the SAFE & SECURED matter. Auditor Kimleen Scantlebury and Investigator Leonard Chasten of the Tax Department assisted in the LANTIGUA case. Investigator George Bean and Auditors Ronald Chan and Wilfred Amanfu assisted in the CHANG case. Investigators George Bean and Rebecca Garcia, and Auditor Annella Johnson assisted in the ORTEGA case
 
Safe & Secured: Senior Investigative Counsel Marc Frazier Scholl and Assistant District Attorney Kenn Kern presented the case to the grand jury, under the supervision of Major Economic Crimes Bureau Principal Deputy Gary T. Fishman and with assistance provided by Assistant District Attorney Gilda Mariani, Chief of the Money Laundering and Tax Crimes Unit. Investigator Terence Hayes of the District Attorney’s Investigation Bureau led the investigation. Lending assistance to the investigation were Financial Intelligence Director David Rosenzweig, Special Advisor John Dinin, Financial Analyst Lauren Lichtman and Investigative Paralegal Geehyun Lee.
 
 Restaurant Cases: The LANTIGUA and ORTEGA cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney and Senior Investigative Counsel Maurice Mathis, assigned to the Money Laundering and Tax Crimes Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gilda Mariani, Chief of the Unit, who also prosecuted the CHANG case. Walter Burnes of the District Attorney’s Office Squad (DAOS) assisted in the CHANG case, and Robert Mistretta, also of DAOS, assisted in the CHANG and Lantigua cases. Accountant Investigator Evelyn Marrero of the Money Laundering and Tax Crimes Unit assisted in the LANTIGUA case, under the supervision of Chief Financial Investigator Robert Demarest, who also supervised Accountant Investigator Loretta Mapp’s work on the ORTEGA case.
 
 Defendant Information:
ABDUR RASHID SALAAM, 9/15/59
2 Whitman Court, Teaneck, NJ
Charges:
 
    * Grand Larceny in the First Degree, 1 count, class B felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.
    * Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, 2 counts, class C felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
    * Criminal Tax Fraud in the Second Degree, 1 count, class C felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
    * Repeated Failure to File Personal Income and Earnings Tax, 1 count, class E felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.
 
 
 
SAFE & SECURED PROTECTIVE SERVICES, INC.
2580 Third Avenue, Bronx, NY
Charges:
 
    * Grand Larceny in the First Degree, 1 count, class B felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.
    * Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, 1 count, class C felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
    * Criminal Tax Fraud in the Second Degree, 1 count, class C felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
 
          
 
T.S.I. SPECIAL SERVICES, INC.
2580 Third Avenue, Bronx, NY 
Charges:
 
    * Grand Larceny in the First Degree, 1 count, class B felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.
    * Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, 1 count, class C felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
 
 
 
ROLANDO LANTIGUA, 3/30/74
608 Abbe Court, River Vale, New Jersey
Charges:
 
    * Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, 1 count, class C felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
    * Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, 1 count, class D felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.
 
 
 
KISHA LANTIGUA, 2/9/1975
608 Abbe Court, River Vale, New Jersey
Charge:
 
    * Petit Larceny, 1 count, class A misdemeanor, punishable by a sentence of up to 1 year in jail.
 
 
 
POWERS CHANG, 10/06/1941
42-65 Kissena Boulevard, Queens, New York
Charge:
 
    * Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, 1 count, class E felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.
 
 
Michael Ortega, 02/26/1956
534 Fifteenth Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Charge:
 
    * Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, 1 count, class C felony, punishable by a sentence of up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
 
Additional news available at: www.manhattanda.org
 
The charges contained in the indictments are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 
 

 

Filed under: