An auto body shop owner from Oceanside was sentenced Wednesday to six months in jail and five years of probation on charges of felony tax fraud, officials announced.
Jose Cardona, 45, previously pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud alleging that his businesses stole over $700,000 in sales tax between his two former businesses: Perry’s Hub Auto in Hempstead and Henry Street Auto Body, Inc. in Freeport.
“When individuals and businesses line their pockets with tax money, they steal services and resources from New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Letitia James in a release. “Jose Cardona and his businesses took advantage of taxpayers and tried to cheat our state out of over half a million dollars.”
What Oceanside resident Jose Cardona did
An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Auto Insurance Fraud Unit and the Department of Taxation and Finance showed that Cardona failed to report close to $600,000 is sales tax from his Hempstead shop over a seven-year period starting in summer 2010. That number was just over $100,000 over a two-year period for the Freeport shop. As well, former employee Peter Bifolco previously faced a Felony Insurance Fraud charge for billing a customer more than $3,000 in unnecessary repairs.
Prior to Wednesday’s sentencing, Cardona had already paid back $700,000 in restitution.
“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,” Acting New York Commissioner Taxation and Finance Amanda Hiller said. “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.”
Oceanside man’s additional charges
Additionally, Cardona and his wife, Veronica, 44, were charged with filing a false personal tax return in 2011 and failing to submit returns in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014. and 2015. All said, they failed to pay over $200,000 in personal returns.
“We’ll continue to work with all levels of law enforcement to bring tax criminals to justice,” Hiller added.