TRENTON, NJ - State, county and local law enforcement personnel are aggressively prosecuting unscrupulous business operators and professionals who evade their tax obligations.
Three examples, based on investigations by State Department of the Treasury Agents, illustrate a renewed focus on businesses that intend to defraud the State and other taxpayers. They involve a property manager in Camden County, a doctor in Middlesex County and a used car dealer in Ocean County.
A Camden County property manager was charged in August with stealing rent money and rental deposits that he collected on behalf of landlords, which he did not declare as income. Randall S. Maher, 40, of Cherry Hill, who worked for a Moorestown real estate agency, was charged with theft by deception from clients in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties. He created a separate company called S.J. Property Management to defraud his employer.
The total loss for victims of the scheme was more than $189,000. The investigation was conducted by the Division of Taxation’s Office of Criminal Investigation and the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit, with assistance from the Cherry Hill Police Department.
Also in August, a Middlesex County physician was indicted by a State Grand Jury for trying to conceal $3.6 million in income derived from his medical practices. Dr. Manoj Patharkar, 44, of Laurence Harbor, and a co-conspirator, Mohammed Shamshair, 51, of Sayreville, were charged with conspiracy, money laundering, filing fraudulent tax returns, theft by deception, misconduct by a corporate official and failure to pay taxes. The State Attorney General’s Office also announced charges against Patharkar’s corporations, Pain Management Associates of Central Jersey in Edison and Prospect Pain Management Associates in Passaic.
Patharkar is accused of trying to reduce his income tax obligations by fabricating the existence of employee payroll and wage expenses. Irfan Raza, 44, a certified public accountant from Valley Stream, N.Y., pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy for his role in the scheme.
Separately, a used car dealer is scheduled to be sentenced in October and will have to pay $220,797 in restitution for failing to turn over sales tax to the State. Gennaro Dicecilia, 58, of Toms River in Ocean County, pleaded guilty to a second-degree charge of failure to turn over collected New Jersey sales tax.
Under a plea agreement, the State will recommend that Dicecilia be sentenced to three years in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 16.
Dicecilia admitted to collecting $156,564 in sales tax from his customers and keeping it for himself. The restitution he will be required to pay to the New Jersey Division of Taxation represents the sales tax that he failed to remit, plus interest and penalty.
“This joint investigation exemplifies the investigative skills, attention to detail and persistence of Division of Taxation staff and our colleagues in the Attorney General’s Office,” said Acting State Treasurer Robert A. Romano. “The restitution of this sum to the Division is a win for the people of New Jersey.”
Dicecilia, who owns Automotion on Route 9 in Toms River, failed to file any sales tax returns since his dealership opened in 2007. An investigation by State Treasury Agents found that he concealed information about the number of cars he sold and the tax he collected.
He was indicted Nov. 14, 2013, following an investigation by the Office of Criminal Investigation and the Division of Criminal Justice. In November 2011, the Division of Taxation conducted a routine canvas of used car dealerships in Ocean County to identify dealerships that were not properly registered or licensed. During that canvas, Dicecilia was found to have failed to file any sales tax returns or remit any sales tax for Automotion.
The Division of Taxation demanded payment of the dealership’s outstanding sales tax, and Dicecilia subsequently filed sales tax returns. However, an audit by the Division of Taxation revealed that he deliberately hid information about the number of cars sold and the sales tax that he collected. Further investigation based on vehicle title transfer records kept by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission determined that Dicecilia had collected $205,157 in sales tax, while he remitted only $48,593 during the civil audit.
Auditor Kyle Mullane of the Office of Criminal Investigation and Detective Kimberly Allen of the Division of Criminal Justice conducted the investigation.