State Cracks Down On Mta Tax Evaders

Attorney General Spitzer and state Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Arthur Roth -- in conjunction with Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Roland Malan -- today announced that 12 MTA employees have been charged with felony offenses of repeatedly failing to pay their state personal income taxes.

"State officials are willing to work with any New Yorker who experiences difficulty paying their taxes," said Spitzer. "But we will prosecute those who show contempt for the law. This case should underscore the importance of complying with state tax filing requirements."

Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Arthur Roth, said: "People who illegally evade taxes literally reach into the pockets of honest, hardworking New Yorkers who do pay their legitimate tax obligations."

The 12 MTA employees charged with tax evasion are rank-and-file workers earning $32,000 to $54,000 per year. In all, they owe $159,000 in unpaid state income taxes.

The tax prosecution is the result of the ongoing New York City Tax Project investigation, a joint effort of the state Department of Taxation and Finance, the Attorney General’s Office and various New York City agencies.

MTA employees charged today in New York County Criminal Court include:

  • Michael Battle, 40, conductor from Brooklyn, who owes $10,000;
  • Willie Boston, 40, railroad signal specialist, who owes $20,000;
  • Darryl Chambers, 36, conductor from Brooklyn, who owes $12,000;
  • Roger Joyner, 47, train operator from Brooklyn, who owes $30,000;
  • Michael Mann, 47, car inspector from Manhattan, who owes $9,000;
  • George Mason, 52, train dispatcher from the Bronx, who owes $16,000;
  • Reginald Murray, 35, station agent from Brooklyn, who owes $11,000;
  • Daniel Parker, 41, conductor, who owes $13,000;
  • William Robinson, 33, station agent, from Jamaica, who owes $15,000;
  • Austin Smith, 39, conductor from Brooklyn, who owes $5,000;
  • Sharon Skinner, 34, station cleaner from Brooklyn, who owes $8,000;
  • Benjamin Welcome, 40, station agent from Brooklyn, who owes $10,000.

All defendants were charged with failure to file a tax return for three consecutive years, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and a $25,000 fine. They were identified as not paying taxes when computerized MTA payroll data were compared with state tax department computer lists of individual income tax obligations.

Spitzer noted the important work of the MTA Inspector General, the Transit Authority Police and the state Tax Department in the investigation. The tax investigation continues and additional MTA employees are expected to be charged in the coming weeks.

The tax cases were referred to the Attorney General’s office by the tax department for prosection. The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Vincent O’Reilly of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau under the direction of bureau chief Janet Cohn.