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Thursday, 02 July 2015 19:42

NY Collision Center and Owner Indicted for Theft of Over Half A Million Dollars in Sales Tax Revenue

On June 25, Ronald Ustica, Jr., 46, and his collision center, R&U Associates Inc. were indicted on seven felony charges stemming from the alleged collection and theft of sales taxes for vehicle repairs at R&U from June 1, 2007 through March 21, 2011.

Ustica, a resident of Suffolk County, is the owner of R&U Associates Inc., also known as R&U Auto Body Inc., a collision center located at 10 Kees Place, Merrick, New York. According to the prosecution, Ustica and R&U collected but failed to remit to New York State over $570,000 in sales taxes between June 1, 2007 and March 21, 2011. They also allegedly filed false quarterly sales tax returns which grossly underreported the millions of dollars in taxable sales at R&U, and the sales tax they had collected during the time period.

“When a business pockets sales tax revenue paid by its customers, it unfairly shifts the burden onto other hard-working New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Those who are already paying their fair share of taxes shouldn’t have to pick up the tab for those who skip out on their bill.”

“Collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from customers in sales tax, then failing to pay those funds to the State as required by law, is a serious crime,” said Commissioner Boone. “We’ll continue to team with the Attorney General and law enforcement organizations across New York to prosecute these crimes.”

The defendants were charged with the following crimes: Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law § 155.40 (one count); Criminal Tax Fraud in the Second Degree, a class C felony, in violation of Tax Law § 1805 (two counts); Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, in violation of Tax Law § 1803, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law § 175.35 (3 counts).

In addition to the criminal charges filed against the defendants, the Attorney General’s office also filed a civil forfeiture action in Albany County Supreme Court which seeks to restrain and attach and ultimately forfeit $570,963.73 in assets of Ronald Ustica, Jr. and R&U Associates, Inc. as proceeds of their crimes

Bail for the defendants was set at $25,000 cash and $50,000 bond and Ustica was remanded into custody.

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