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Long IslandCrime

Major World manager brothers plead guilty to filing false corporate tax returns

Bruce Bendell, far left, leaves federal court in

Bruce Bendell, far left, leaves federal court in Central Islip on July 26, 2018, along with his brother Harold Bendell, second from far right. Credit: James Carbone

Two former senior managers at Major World in Long Island City underreported millions in 2009 income and inflated expenses to avoid paying proper taxes, federal officials announced Thursday.

Brothers Bruce Bendell, 64, of Roslyn and Harold Bendell, 69, of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, pleaded guilty in federal court in Central Islip on Thursday before U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert to filing false corporate tax returns. They will be sentenced Nov. 30 and each faces a maximum of three years in prison.

“Harold and Bruce Bendell admitted that they concealed millions of dollars of their company’s income and avoided paying their fair share of taxes to the United States government,” said Richard Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Before the guilty pleas, the two men paid $3.88 million in restitution to the IRS and resigned from Major World, an auto dealership that widely advertises in the New York radio market.

Scott Resnik, Bruce Bendell’s Manhattan attorney, said his client had accepted responsibility for his actions.

“He is cooperating with the government and is focused on rebuilding his life,” Resnik said.

Steven Harfenist, of Lake Success, Harold Bendell’s the attorney, said afterward, “This is the resolution of a case that goes back to 2007 and 2009.”

“We worked with the government to resolve the matter,” said Harfenist, noting that his client and his client’s brother paid restitution even before they entered pleas Thursday.

Prosecutors said in August 2010 the men filed corporate tax returns for 2009 that failed to disclose $1.4 million in gross receipts that Major Automotive Companies had received, as well as $2.11 million in cash payroll expenses the company did not pay in payroll taxes.

“Harold and Bruce Bendell took unlawful advantage of the system that financially impacts all Americans,” said James Robnett, special agent in charge of the IRS criminal investigations bureau in Brooklyn.

With Robert E. Kessler

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