Nassau prosecutors said Thursday that a Glen Oaks man who has served as president of two Long Island gas station firms was arrested Thursday and charged with failing to send the state nearly $200,000 in sales tax.
Ehah Labib, 43, turned himself in and was arraigned in First District Court in Hempstead before Judge Darlene Harris on a charge of violating sales and compensating use tax, a misdemeanor. Prosecutors said the charges relate to taxes in 2011 and 2012, adding that Labib faces up to a year in prison and may be required to pay a fine of $10,000.
Labib, who pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance, is due back in court on Dec. 1. He faces charges along with King of Sunrise Inc., at 700 W. Sunrise Hwy. in Valley Stream, and Maspeth Service Station Inc., at 6090 Eliot Ave. in Queens.
Both firms were charged with second-degree grand larceny. Also, King of Sunrise was charged with one count of third-degree criminal tax fraud and Maspeth Service Station was charged with one count of second-degree criminal tax fraud. They are due back in court Nov. 24.
Prosecutors said the companies failed to send the state $197,411.34 in sales tax, a portion of which is owed to both Nassau County and New York City. The arrest concludes a joint investigation by the Nassau County district attorney's office and the Queens regional office of the state Department of Taxation and Finance.
"Sales taxes are used to fund public safety and critical infrastructure projects like paving our roadways," said acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas. "When customers make a purchase and pay those sales taxes, they should be confident that the business is doing the right thing and sending that money to the state, which in turn sends part of it back to the counties."
Labib's attorney, Nicholas Kaizer of Manhattan, who also represents the companies, said Labib was charged with a minor crime, a misdemeanor, for failure to properly keep records.
"There's no allegations of any fraud on his part," Kaizer said. "It's just a record-keeping violation."
He added that the fate of the firms, which face felony charges, will not affect Labib.
"It's true there are more serious charges against the corporations, but they don't impact Mr. Labib," he said, adding that he expects Labib to be exonerated.
In a news release, Singas said that, "Labib, as the responsible party for King of Sunrise and Maspeth Service Station, underreported sales in tax returns submitted on behalf of the two corporations for fiscal quarters beginning Dec. 1, 2008 through and including Nov. 30, 2012."