The current and former owner of a Mineola restaurant face tax fraud charges after they failed to pay more than $330,000 in collected sales tax over a four-year period, prosecutors said Friday.
Joseph Rosmaninho, current owner of Brasa Rodizio, and Paul Batista, the restaurant’s former owner, each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, according to the Nassau County district attorney’s office.
Rosmaninho and Batista were charged with second-degree grand larceny and multiple counts of criminal tax fraud, prosecutors said.
Batista, 44, of North Carolina, was arraigned Thursday, released on his own recognizance, and ordered to surrender his passport, prosecutors said.
Rosmaninho, 42, of Smithtown, was arraigned Wednesday, released on his own recognizance, and ordered to surrender his passport, prosecutors said.
Rosmaninho’s Mineola attorney E. David Woycik Jr. said: “We’ve pleaded not guilty, and we’ll be appearing in court defending him vigorously in this case,” as there’s “a lot more of the story to be told,” referring to facts and circumstances.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said that the two men “underreported sales tax collected from customers” at the Portuguese restaurant from September 2011 until November 2015.
Rosmaninho acquired Batista’s share of the business last summer, Singas said.
“These defendants allegedly pocketed sales tax money that should have gone towards vital government services like fixing our roads and funding youth services,” Singas said in a statement.
The state Department of Taxation and Finance reviewed the restaurant’s records and began to investigate in October 2015 “after it was discovered that the restaurant allegedly underreported taxable sales every quarter that they filed their sales tax returns,” prosecutors said.