Nassau County, NY, Collision Repair Shops, Owner Convicted of Tax Fraud
Published Aug. 4, 2023
Jose Cardona, 45, of Oceanside, NY, was sentenced Aug. 2 for felony tax fraud related to his ownership and operation of two Nassau County collision repair shops, New York State officials announced.
In Nassau County State Supreme Court, Cardona was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation, after having already paid more than $700,000 in restitution.
Cardona’s two businesses previously pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud charges, and his wife, Veronica Cardona, 44, also of Oceanside, previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor false filing charge related to a fraudulent personal income tax return.
Cardona was the owner and operator of two collision centers: No Limit Auto Body, Inc., also known as Perry’s Hub Auto Care, located at 10 Jerusalem Ave. in Hempstead, NY, and Henry Street Auto Body, Inc., also known as No Limit Auto Body II, located at 110 Henry St. in Freeport, NY.
A joint investigation by the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Auto Insurance Fraud Unit and the Department of Taxation and Finance (Tax Department) revealed Cardona and No Limit Auto Body collected but failed to remit to New York state more than $584,000 in sales taxes between June 2010 and May 2016, and that Cardona and Henry Street Auto Body collected but failed to remit more than $117,000 in sales tax between June 2011 and November 2015.
Cardona previously pleaded guilty to one count each of third-degree criminal tax fraud and fourth-degree criminal tax fraud, both felonies.
Pursuant to his pleas, Cardona paid more than $700,000 in restitution to the Tax Department prior to being sentenced. On Aug. 2, before Acting Supreme Court Justice Meryl J. Berkowitz, Cardona was sentenced to six months in jail, followed by five years of probation.
In addition to sales tax fraud, Cardona and his wife were both charged with filing a false personal income tax return for 2011 and failing to file personal income tax returns for 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015---thereby underpaying more than $204,000 in personal income taxes.
Additionally, prosecutors previously charged No Limit employee Peter Bifolco with felony insurance fraud for adding additional damage to a car brought to the shop and then billing more than $3,000 in unnecessary repairs.
Veronica Cardona, Bifolco and Jose Cardona’s two businesses previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced before Berkowitz in Nassau County. Henry Street Auto Body pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree tax fraud, and No Limit Auto Body pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree tax fraud and one count of first-degree falsifying business records, also felonies. Veronica Cardona pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree offering a false instrument for filing, a misdemeanor, and Bifolco pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree criminal mischief, also a misdemeanor. The defendants were previously sentenced to a conditional discharge.
New York Attorney General Letitia James and Acting New York Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Amanda Hiller announced Jose Cardona’s sentencing.
“When individuals and businesses line their pockets with tax money, they steal services and resources from New Yorkers,” said James. “Jose Cardona and his businesses took advantage of taxpayers and tried to cheat our state out of over half a million dollars. I thank DTF and Acting Commissioner Hiller for their partnership and coordination to address this crime and carry out justice. My office will continue to protect New York taxpayers and ensure public resources are used for their intended purposes.”
“By fraudulently disregarding his tax obligations, Mr. Cardona violated the trust of his customers, deprived his own community of revenue needed for vital programs and services, and put other businesses at a competitive disadvantage,” said Hiller. “I thank the attorney general for her work on this case. We’ll continue to work with all levels of law enforcement to bring tax criminals to justice.”
This case was investigated by the Tax Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, and then referred to OAG for further investigation and prosecution.
The OAG thanks the Tax Department, New York State Department of Financial Services, National Insurance Crime Bureau and GEICO Insurance for their valuable assistance in this investigation.
Source: Office of the New York State Attorney General