Two restaurateurs were arrested this week for allegedly pocketing more than $330,000 in sales taxes collected at their Mineola restaurant, Nassau County prosecutors said Friday.
Paul Batista, the former co-owner of Churrasqueira Brasa Rodizio, and Joseph Rosmaninho, the current owner, allegedly underreported sales tax received from customers at their Portuguese eatery from September 2011 to December 2015, bilking state tax authorities out of $333,794.89, prosecutors said.
“These defendants allegedly pocketed sales tax money that should have gone towards vital government services like fixing our roads and funding youth services,” Madline Singas, the Nassau County district attorney, said in a statement. “Most New Yorkers meet their tax obligations, but some cheat the system and create a burden for everyone else.”
Batista, a former Mineola resident who now lives in North Carolina, was a co-owner of the restaurant at 100 Herricks Road until he sold his stake to Rosmaninho, of Smithtown, in the summer of last year, prosecutors said.
As owners, the two were supposed to hand over all sales taxes collected at the restaurant to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, which keeps half for the state and gives the other half to Nassau County, prosecutors said.
The Department of Taxation and Finance started investigating the restaurant in October 2015 after discovering that it had underreported sales tax for every quarter in which it filed tax returns, prosecutors said. The department handed the case to the Nassau district attorney’s office in December 2016.
“Our agency will continue to vigorously investigate anyone who appears to violate our sales tax laws, and we thank the Nassau County District Attorney for handling this case,” the acting commissioner for the Department of Taxation and Finance, Nonie Manion, said in a statement.
Rosmaninho and Batista are both charged with three counts of second-degree criminal tax fraud and one count each of second-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal tax fraud and fifth-degree criminal tax fraud, prosecutors said.
Rosmaninho surrendered to investigators from the district attorney’s office on Wednesday and was arraigned before District Court Judge Scott Siller the same day, prosecutors said. Batista surrendered Thursday and was arraigned before Siller the same day.
Both were released and forced to surrender their passports, prosecutors said. Rosmaninho is due back in court June 7. Batista is due back in court June 8.
Rosmaninho’s attorney, E. David Woycik Jr., whose office is next door to Churrasqueira Brasa Rodizio, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Batista’s attorney, Louis Martins of Mineola, did not return a phone call seeking comment.