Manhattan Attorneys Among Seven Who Pleaded Guilty To Failure To File Tax Returns
ALBANY, NY (July 1, 2007) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced that two Manhattan attorneys were among seven people - four attorneys, two doctors and a nurse - who pleaded guilty to not filing state tax returns.
"These high-income individuals could easily afford to pay their fair share," said Attorney General Cuomo. "Instead, they decided to break the law to circumvent their obligations while increasing the burden on other taxpayers. It is simply inexcusable for these individuals to try and shirk a responsibility that New York's taxpayers live with every year, and my office will see to it that they are held accountable."
Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Barbara G. Billet said, "These arrests are a result of the Department's continuing efforts to increase compliance through the use of automated audit programs and increased technology. It is never too late to file a return. In fact, by doing so as soon as possible, taxpayers can avoid the imposition of certain penalties prescribed for non-filing and the accrual of interest charged on monies owed. The Department thanks Attorney General Cuomo for his active role in ensuring the fairness of New York State's tax system for all New Yorkers."
The case, referred to the Attorney General by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, found that all seven did not file the state tax returns for at least three years and in some cases five years. The amounts earned indicated below are according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance.
- John Lynch, a Manhattan attorney, earned at least $1,573,360 but paid only $9,000 in taxes between 2000 and 2004 without filing any returns. Lynch pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to file a tax return, misdemeanors.
- Justine Clark, a Manhattan attorney, made at least $2,685,315 from 2000 to 2004. Records show she only paid $30,000 without filing any tax returns. She pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to file a tax return, misdemeanors, and will be sentenced July 23.
- Ari Edelstein, a doctor from Flushing, made at least $414,961 from 2000 and 2004. However, records show Edelstein only paid $1,496 in taxes and filed no tax returns. Edelstein pleaded guilty to failing to file a tax return, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to pay a $10,000 fine, serve 25 hours of community service and repay all outstanding taxes, penalties and interest.
- Philomena Walker, a nurse from East Elmhurst, earned at least $756,350 between the years of 2000 and 2004, but records show she paid only a total of $45,902 during those years without filing any returns. Walker pleaded guilty to failing to file a tax return, a misdemeanor, and is scheduled for sentencing August 14.
- Dominic Pompa, a Staten Island doctor, earned at least $383,941 from 2001 to 2004, but records show he only paid $500 during those years without filing any state returns. He pleaded guilty to failing to file a tax return, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to pay a $2,500 fine, serve 100 hours of community service and repay all taxes, penalties and interest owed to the Tax Department.
- Ronald Goldman, an attorney from Brooklyn, made at least $1,553,920 between the years of 2000 and 2004. However, state tax records show he only paid $48,200 during that time without filing any state tax returns. He pleaded guilty failing to file a tax return, a misdemeanor, and will be sentenced July 23.
- Lawrence Wechsler, an attorney from Great Neck, made at least $393,588 between 2000 and 2004 but only paid $5,000 without filing any returns. Wechsler pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to file a tax return, misdemeanors, and will be sentenced at a time to be determined.
These prosecutions arose out of an automated audit project regularly conducted by the Department of Taxation and Finance which is designed to identify professionals who are licensed inNew York State but who have not filed state tax returns. The project, which relies on comparisons of data from different sources, has identified more than 11,000 licensed professionals who have not filed state income tax returns, including attorneys, CPAs, architects, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, and other medical specialists and health care providers. To date, the Department has audited more than 2,200 of these professionals and has issued estimated tax assessments exceeding $12.8 million.
The cases are being handled by the Attorney General's Deputy Chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau Richard Ernst.