A.G. Schneiderman & Acting Tax Commissioner Manion Announce Indictment Of Brooklyn Scaffolding Contractor And Owner For Alleged Theft Of Nearly $500K Dollars In Tax Revenue

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2016

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A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN & ACTING TAX COMMISSIONER MANION ANNOUNCE INDICTMENT OF BROOKLYN SCAFFOLDING CONTRACTOR AND OWNER FOR ALLEGED THEFT OF NEARLY $500K DOLLARS IN TAX REVENUE

Defendants Kenneth G. Martinez And Metropolitan Enterprises, Inc. Allegedly Stole Over $455K In Sales And Use Tax From June 2014 Through September 2015

Schneiderman: We Will Continue Fighting To Root Out Tax Fraud And Prosecute Those Responsible

ALBANY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion announced today the indictment of Metropolitan Enterprises, Inc. and its president and CEO, Kenneth G. Martinez, 48, on 12 felony charges stemming from the alleged collection and theft of sales and use tax for sales and rentals related to Metropolitan’s scaffolding and hoisting business from March 1, 2014, through September 21, 2015. “Those who defraud our tax system take money out of the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “We will continue fighting to root out tax fraud and fully prosecute those responsible for it.”

Martinez, a resident of Nassau County, is the owner of Metropolitan Enterprises, Inc., located at 637 Court Street, Brooklyn, New York. According to the prosecution, Martinez and Metropolitan collected but failed to remit to New York State over $455,000 in sales taxes between March 1, 2014, through September 21, 2015.  Public records show that in 2015, Metropolitan was a subcontractor for various work done on the George Washington Bridge and on the Oculus Project at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

“Business owners who bypass the law must be held accountable. This type of behavior, as alleged in this case, cheats taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars—funds used for vital public programs and services,” said Acting Tax Commissioner Manion. “We will continue to work with Attorney General Schneiderman and all levels of law enforcement to root out tax evasion.”

According to the indictment, which was unsealed today in Albany County Supreme Court, an Albany County grand jury charged the defendants with the following crimes: Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law § 155.40 (three counts); Criminal Tax Fraud in the Second Degree, a class C felony, in violation of Tax Law § 1805 (three counts); Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, in violation of New York State Penal Law § 155.35 (two counts); Criminal Tax Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, in violation of Tax Law § 1804 (two counts); Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, in violation of New York State Penal Law § 155.30 (one count); Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, in violation of Tax Law § 1802 (one count).

Martinez was arraigned today before Hon. William A. Carter, Albany County Court Judge.  Bail was set in the amount of $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond, and Martinez was remanded into custody.  Metropolitan Enterprises, Inc. is scheduled to be arraigned on December 19, 2016, at which point Martinez is due back in Court.

The charges against the defendant are allegations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The Attorney General’s Office would like to thank the DTF’s Criminal Investigations Division for its cooperation and support on this case.  The Attorney General would also like to thank the New York/New Jersey Port Authority, Office of the Inspector General and the New York City School Construction Authority, Office of the Inspector General, for their assistance in the case.

The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigator Mark Terra, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigators Antoine Karam and John McManus.  The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.  Forensic accounting was done by Chief Auditor Edward J. Keegan of the Forensic Audit Section.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Philip V. Apruzzese of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton.