Tax deadbeats busted: Convictions of collision repair shop owners for tax fraud

August 3, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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In a significant move against tax fraud, New York Attorney General Letitia James and Acting New York Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Amanda Hiller announced the convictions of two Nassau County collision repair shops and their owner, Jose Cardona.

Cardona, 45, of Oceanside, was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation for felony tax fraud related to his operation of No Limit Auto Body and Henry Street Auto Body. Cardona’s businesses previously pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud charges. Cardona’s wife, Veronica Cardona, 44, also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor false filing charge related to a fraudulent personal income tax return.

“Jose Cardona and his businesses took advantage of taxpayers and tried to cheat our state out of over half a million dollars,” said Attorney General James, stressing that her office would continue to protect New York taxpayers and ensure public resources are used for their intended purposes.

An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit and the Department of Taxation and Finance revealed that Cardonas’ businesses collected but failed to remit to New York state more than $700,000 in sales taxes between June 2010 and November 2015.

Acting Commissioner Hiller highlighted the broader impact of Cardona’s actions, stating, “Mr. Cardona violated the trust of his customers, deprived his own community of revenue needed for vital programs and services, and put other businesses at a competitive disadvantage.”

Before being sentenced, Cardona pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal tax fraud in the third degree and criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree. He has already paid over $700,000 in restitution to the Tax Department.

Additionally, the Cardonas were both charged with filing a false personal income tax return for 2011 and failing to file personal income tax returns for 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 — thereby underpaying more than $204,000 in personal income taxes.

Adding to the list of offenses, an employee of No Limit, Peter Bifolco, was previously charged with felony insurance fraud for adding additional damage to a car brought to the shop and then billing more than $3,000 in unnecessary repairs.

In response to these charges, Veronica Cardona, Bifolco and the two businesses pleaded guilty and were sentenced before Acting Supreme Court Justice Meryl J. Berkowitz in Nassau County.

 


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