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Post date: May 31 2002

Erie County Auto Dealer Charged With Stealing Over One Half Million Dollars In Sales Taxes

Attorney General Spitzer and State Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Arthur Roth today announced the arrest of an Erie County used car business owner for allegedly stealing more than $574,000 in sales taxes that he collected but failed to pay the state.

Paul R. Delmonte, 50, of 6670 South Abbott Road, Orchard Park, was arrested and arraigned today in Hamburg Town Court on charges of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class C felony, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a Class E felony. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison on the larceny charge. Delmonte was arraigned today in Hamburg Town Court and was released on his own recognizance.

According to the felony complaint, the charges stem from his failure to remit to New York State sales taxes he collected from his customers at his used car sales and service business, Paul R. Delmonte Inc, formerly located at 4890 South Park Avenue, Hamburg, and his filing of false sales and use tax returns with the Department of Taxation and Finance.

The complaint alleges that Delmonte stole $574,971 in sales tax monies from June 1996 through August 2000. Based on an audit performed by the Department of Taxation and Finance, the complaint also alleges that Delmonte filed numerous false tax returns in order to steal the monies.

"This defendant stole over half a million dollars from the state and then tried to cover up his crime by filing false tax returns," Spitzer said. "That's money that is intended to go to schools, teachers, firefighters or police officers, not into the pockets of a used car dealer."

"Tax evaders cheat New York State of revenues necessary to run important programs and put an unfair burden on legitimate taxpayers who must pick up the slack," said Commissioner Roth. "At the Department of Taxation and Finance, we intend to pursue these cases aggressively in order to protect the interests of all honest New Yorkers."

The charges in the complaint are mere accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law. The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Mary C. Baumgarten of the Attorney General's Criminal Prosecution Bureau, with the assistance of Investigator Michael McCartney from the Attorney General's Investigations Bureau. David W. Gehring, of the state Tax Department also assisted on the case.