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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
January 20, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 
 
Hudson County Businessman Charged with
$270,000 Theft of State Tax Dollars

Attorney General & Division of Taxation Target Tax Cheats

Hotlines Established to Report Tax Cheats and Corruption
Division of Criminal Justice Corruption TipLine at 1-866-TIPS-4CJ
Citizens Against Tax Cheats Hotline at 609-292-6400


TRENTON —Attorney General Peter C. Harvey today announced that a joint-agency investigation targeting the willful failure to pay state motor fuel taxes has resulted in a Hudson County businessman pleading guilty to charges of cheating the State of New Jersey out of more than $270,000 in tax revenue.

“Citizens who play by the rules cannot and will not be forced to shoulder the burden of lawless tax cheats who evade the system,” Attorney General Harvey said. “This investigation demonstrates the resolve and forward thinking of the Division of Criminal Justice and the Division of Taxation as they undertake concerted efforts to target tax cheats. Make no mistake, we intend to recoup and return missing and due and owing tax dollars to our treasury and to New Jersey’s honest taxpayers.”

“New Jersey taxpayers should know they must comply with the State Tax statutes or face consequences. To that end, I have supported the Division of Taxation since my first day in Office and have encouraged the cooperative relationship that is obviously working with the Division of Criminal Justice," said State Treasurer John E. McCormac.

According to Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, Manuel Mier, 50, Irvington Avenue, Hillside, Union County, pleaded guilty before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Kevin G. Callahan to charges of failure to file New Jersey Motor Fuel tax returns and failure to turn over taxes. As a result of the Jan. 20 guilty plea, Meir faces up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Additionally, the Court will order the payment of $417,685 in back taxes, interest and penalty. Meir is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15.

“Tax payment and the payment of mandatory collected fees is an obligation of business ownership. The State’s services to citizens depend upon receiving revenues from business taxes. The Division of Taxation, in concert with the Division of Criminal Justice, will continue to target tax delinquents in order to collect any and all due and owing tax monies,” said Robert K. Thompson, Director, Division of Taxation.

The criminal Accusation charged that Mier, the owner/operator of three corporations doing business as 76 Tonnelle Friendly Service LTD (a service station located at 7514 Tonnelle Ave., Hudson County), Leticia, Inc. and L&M Services, Inc., failed to file and remit more than $95,909 in motor fuel taxes collected through the sale of gasoline and diesel fuels from September, 1997 through February, 2000. Additionally, the Accusation charged that Mier and his wife maintained an ownership interest in two waste disposal trucking companies located in North Bergen and Newark. The companies, incorporated as Leticia, Inc. and L&M Services, Inc., also failed to remit more than $181,199 in use taxes to the State Treasurer. After seizing various business records via search warrants, Division of Taxation investigators and auditors conducted an audit of the records and determined that Mier and his corporations failed to file required tax returns and Seller-User of Special Fuels Reports and to submit due and owing motor fuel excise tax revenues. The New Jersey Motor Fuel Excise Tax applies to service station sales of diesel motor fuel which is taxed at the rate of 13 ½ cents per gallon of diesel fuel.

“Anyone who operates a business in the State of New Jersey and who intentionally fails to submit motor fuel tax revenues will be investigated by the Division of Taxation and prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice. We will not tolerate the business of cheating the state and its citizens out of tax monies,” said Criminal Justice Director McKoy.

Attorney General Harvey noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has established a toll-free “Corruption TipLine” for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities. The statewide “Corruption TipLine” is: 1-866-TIPS-4CJ. Additionally, the public can log on to the Division of Criminal Justice Web Page at www.njdcj.org to electronically report suspected wrongdoing. Any information received via the Division of Criminal Justice “Corruption TipLine” will remain confidential.

Director Thompson said that anyone with information about unscrupulous tax preparers, or any type of tax fraud, are encouraged to contact the New Jersey Division of Taxation’s “Citizens Against Tax Cheats or CATCH” program. The hotline number is: (609) 292-6400. Information can also be mailed to the New Jersey Division of Taxation, 50 Barrack Street, P.O. Box 190, Trenton, NJ 08695-0190, Attention: Citizens Against Tax Cheats.

The investigation was coordinated by the Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigations and the Division of Criminal Justice - Financial Crimes Bureau. Supervising Deputy Attorney General Terrence Hull of the Division of Criminal Justice - Financial Crimes Bureau prosecuted the case. State Investigator Scott Romanowski of the Division of Criminal Justice - Major Financial Crimes Bureau and Investigator Frank Papp assigned to the Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigations conducted the investigation.

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