DA: Owner of Great Neck auto shops pays back state taxes in sentencing

The Queens owner of two Great Neck auto The Queens owner of two Great Neck auto body repair shops, Joseph Caraccia, 65, pleaded guilty on Jan. 31, 2014, to larceny charges stemming from failure to pay $335,000 in taxes, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. Photo Credit: NCDA

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The owner of two Great Neck auto body shops who in January admitted failing to pay $335,000 in state taxes from his shops has paid the balance of what he owed, prosecutors said.

Joseph Caraccia, 68, of Whitestone, Queens, and his two companies were sentenced Thursday in Nassau County Court to a conditional discharge, and paid $167,500 to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, District Attorney Kathleen Rice's office said.

That figure represented the rest of the money he owed to the state after paying the first half of the money, $167,500, when he pleaded guilty to petty larceny, a misdemeanor, in January.

Caraccia's two shops -- Auto Bodyworks of 275 E. Shore Rd. and Auto Body Works II of 300 E. Shore Rd. -- also pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny, a felony.

"By failing to pay his fair share of taxes, this defendant withheld money that could have been used to pay our first responders, to repair roadways and to maintain our parks," Rice said in a statement.

The issue was discovered after a tip to Rice's office and referred to investigators with the state Department of Taxation and Finance, "which found discrepancies between taxes paid by insurance carriers to Caraccia's shops and the taxes the shops subsequently failed to remit to the state."

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A subsequent audit and records review determined Caraccia and his shops "collected but failed to remit taxes in amount of $335,000 between 2009 and 2012," Rice's office said.

Caraccia was arrested Oct. 24, 2012, and his two corporations were charged on Dec. 18.

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