New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox announced that on July 10, 2012, Peter Seretis, 33, of East Elmhurst, Queens, pled guilty to sales tax fraud. The plea is the result of an investigation that arose out of Seretis's management of the Hudson Eatery, a Manhattan restaurant located at 601 West 57th Street. Seretis, part owner as well as manager, holds a minority share of the partnership that operates this business.
During an 18-month period beginning in March 2010, the Hudson Eatery collected sales tax from numerous customers who purchased meals at the restaurant. The establishment was required to report the tax collected from its customers on its quarterly sales tax returns, then pay all of these funds to the State; it did not. Instead, the Hudson Eatery underreported sales tax collections for the period by a total of $79,350.47 - 45% of all of the sales tax it had collected from customers. As the managing partner of the Hudson Eatery, Seteris was responsible for this misconduct.
A joint investigation was conducted by the New York County District Attorney's Office, the New York City Department of Finance, and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Criminal Investigations Division.
Seretis pled guilty to one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree. Seteris paid back the sales tax that he misappropriated, plus interest and penalties, totaling $91,352.98. Seretis received a sentence of an unconditional discharge, and he paid a criminal fine of $10,000, plus a surcharge of $200.
Commissioner Mattox said, "Restaurants that collect sales tax hold these funds in trust for the State and local governments. Our Department will vigorously investigate anyone who violates this trust by misappropriating these funds. I thank New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance and the members of his staff, including Unit Chief Gilda Mariani, for vigorously prosecuting this case. I also thank the New York City Department of Finance, Office of Tax Enforcement, led by Maureen Kokeas, for partnering with us in this investigation."