Huntington Station jeweler who kept tax money gets probation
A Huntington Village jeweler was sentenced to 3 years of probation for failing to report taxable sales, and he has promised to pay the state nearly $100,000, the state tax department said Thursday.
Peter Messina, 62, owner of Messina Brothers New York, had pleaded guilty in August to misdemeanor petit larceny because he did not report $731,473 in sales but had charged buyers taxes on them, according to authorities.
As a result, the businessman had avoided remitting $48,569 in sales taxes to the state.
Under Wednesday's sentencing, he will have to pay that amount, along with $49,256 in penalties and interest, authorities said.
Attempts to interview Messina, of 3 North Ave. in Northport, were unsuccessful.
Online court records show he was arrested in September of last year after being indicted on a charge of tax offenses committed in 2010 and was represented by Legal Aid.
The case was investigated by the state and prosecuted by the Suffolk County district attorney's office.
"Businesses that collect sales tax hold those funds in trust for the state and local governments," state tax Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox said in a news release. "Our department, with the cooperation of local authorities, will vigorously investigate anyone who violates this trust by profiting from these funds."
Each year, New York State businesses collect nearly $25 billion in sales tax from their customers. Businesses transmit the funds to the Tax Department for state programs and distribution to local governments.