New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox announced today that the owner of a Bronx liquor store was arrested August 25 on multiple felony charges for failing to turn over more than $195,000 in New York State and New York City sales taxes, and for failing to report over two million dollars in sales to the state and city during a three year period.
Hector Rijo, 49, of 2989 Marion Avenue, Apartment C4, Bronx, and his corporation, Rijo Wines & Liquors, Inc., which operates a liquor store at 273 East 163rd Street, Bronx, New York, were both arraigned on a felony complaint in Bronx County Criminal Court. Both were charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony; two counts of Criminal Tax Fraud Act in the Second Degree, class C felonies; and, 13 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class E felonies.
According to the felony complaint, bank statements for Rijo Wines & Liquors, Inc. showed deposits which were $2,273,591 higher than the sales that Rijo Wines & Liquors, Inc. reported on the New York State Sales Tax returns that it filed between September 1, 2007 and November 30, 2010. Each of those thirteen sales tax returns was signed by Hector Rijo as president of the corporation. The complaint also alleges that Rijo Wines & Liquors, Inc. collected $195,551 more in sales tax from its customers than it reported and remitted to New York State. Rijo faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the charges.
The defendants are to appear next in Bronx County Criminal Court on September 22, 2011.
Commissioner Mattox said the charges in this case should remind taxpayers that if a business has not remitted all of the sales tax it has collected and is not yet under the scrutiny of the Tax Department, its owners are urged to enter the State’s Voluntary Disclosure and Compliance Program to correct past returns and avoid both civil and criminal penalties. Information on the program is available on the Department’s website at www.tax.ny.gov.
Commissioner Mattox thanked Bronx County District Attorney Robert T. Johnson and Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Lewis for their aggressive prosecution of this case.
The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.