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Department of Taxation and Finance

Restaurant Owners Plead Guilty to Grand Larceny Operated “Desperados BBQ” in Erie County; failed to remit more than $56K in sales tax to the State

For Release: Immediate,

For press inquiries only, contact: James Gazzale, 518-457-7377

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced that two owners and operators of a barbeque restaurant in Erie County have pleaded guilty to one felony count of third-degree grand larceny.

Shelly Firsch Hunt, 56, of 29 Commercial Avenue, Angola, and William J. Francis, 65, of 22 Orchard Avenue, Angola, operated Desperado’s BBQ, also in Angola. An investigation by the Tax Department’s Criminal Investigations Division found that the joint operators failed to file 13 sales tax returns and remit more than $56,000 in sales taxes collected from their customers to New York State as required by law.

Hunt and Francis, scheduled to be sentenced on July 11 in Erie County Court, could each face a prison sentence of up to seven years.

“Restaurants and all other businesses that pocket sales taxes violate the trust of their customers, deprive their communities and the state of vital tax revenue, and shift the tax burden on to honest businesses,” said Acting Tax Commissioner Nonie Manion. “We thank the Erie County District Attorney’s Office for assisting us with the investigation and prosecuting this case.”

For related information, see our webpage: Sales by Restaurants, Taverns, and Similar Establishments.
New Yorkers aware of sales tax evasion or fraud can anonymously report it online or by calling 518-457-0578. The Tax Department takes this type of illegal activity seriously, promptly reviews each complaint, and takes corrective action when appropriate.