Tuesday, 20 September 2016 21:38

NY Body Shop Owner Convicted of Tax Evasion, Insurance Fraud

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Boone announced on Setpember 14 the guilty plea of Aniello Strocchia, 43, owner of BM Auto Collision, Inc., headquartered in Maspeth, New York.


Strocchia pleaded guilty in Queens County Supreme Court to defrauding insurance companies and failing to pay sales tax to the state.

 

As part of his plea, Strocchia agreed to pay $500,000 in restitution to auto insurance companies and the Department of Taxation and Finance.

 

The conviction is the result of a long-term investigation conducted by the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit (AIFU) of the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau, together with the Criminal Investigations Division of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (CID).

AIFU’s investigation revealed that Strocchia and his auto body shop, BM Auto Collision, Inc., defrauded insurance companies by adding damage to mostly high end vehicles and then billing the insurance companies for unnecessary, partly performed, or wholly unperformed work.

 

In addition to the insurance fraud investigation, AIFU conducted a parallel investigation with CID into tax evasion by Strocchia and BM Auto. This investigation uncovered that Strocchia had underreported company revenue by over $480,000 over a two-year period in an effort to avoid paying sales tax.

 

On September 14, Strocchia entered a guilty plea in Queens County Supreme Court to one count of Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, and one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor. Strocchia admitted that between September 2012 and December 2014, he and his employees systematically added damage to vehicles brought to BM Auto for repair, and then submitted fraudulently inflated vehicle repair estimates to insurance carriers. Strocchia further admitted that between March 2011 and February 2013, he failed to remit sales tax due by BM Auto to the Department of Tax and Finance.

 

As part of his plea, Strocchia agreed to pay $500,000 as restitution to auto insurance companies and to New York State. Strocchia is scheduled to be sentenced to five years of probation on December 6.

 

The Attorney General thanked the National Insurance Crime Bureau and GEICO for assisting in this investigation.

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