Nassau car dealer charged in $200G tax case

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The owner of an Elmont used car dealership has been charged in the theft of more than $200,000 in sales tax revenue by failing to file any withholding tax, corporation tax, federal income tax, or sales tax returns since 2006.

Philip Shaw, 47, surrendered this morning to the Nassau district attorney's investigators on charges of second-degree grand larceny, and two misdemeanor violations of state tax law.

Shaw pleaded not guilty to the charges Monday in First District Court in Hempstead, and was held on $4,000 cash bail or 10,000 bond. He is due back in court Thursday. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

Prosecutors said the case was referred to them by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

In a statement, District Attorney Kathleen Rice said that Shaw, the principal owner of High Gear Inc., a used-car dealer, stole a total of $203,778 by failing to file and pay his taxes. High Gear has not had a valid certificate to conduct business in Nassau County since 2006.

A preliminary review of Shaw's bank records shows that payments made to him by check were typically personal checks with no indication of the type of car, cost of car, amount of taxes, or any other identifying information, prosecutors say.

A 2010 audit by the N.Y. Department of Taxation and Finance revealed that Shaw reported more than $2 million in sales to the Department of Motor Vehicles between 2006 and 2010. However, he never reported those sales to the tax department and he never paid the collected sales tax. Half of the sales tax local businesses pay to the state comes back to Nassau County, prosecutors said.

"When an unscrupulous business owner steals tax revenue, we are all victimized," Rice said.

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