The mayor of Muttontown — who ran in the past on the slate of the Concerned Taxpayers Party — and her physician husband surrendered Thursday morning to prosecutors to face criminal charges for allegedly failing to file tax returns for five years.
The Nassau County district attorney’s office said Julianne Beckerman, 48, and Adam Beckerman, 55, failed to file New York State personal tax returns for tax years 2010 through 2014, despite earning more than $4.5 million during that time. Nassau prosecutors said the Beckermans owe $243,865 in back taxes.
The attorney for the Beckermans, Robert Altchiler entered not guilty pleas on their behalf in District Court in Hempstead, before Judge Scott Siller ordered them to surrender their passports and released them on their own recognizance.
Altchiler said the charges have nothing to do with Julianne Beckerman’s capacity as a mayor.
“There are people, many people in the community who are professionals, and then they have their private lives ... What you see time and time again is that sometimes people are not as meticulous in attending to their own personal affairs as they are with the public,” Altchiler said.
The Manhattan-based lawyer declined to comment on the fact that the mayor ran on a slate called the Concerned Taxpayers Party.
Both are facing seven felony charges: one count of second-degree criminal tax fraud, two counts of third-degree criminal tax fraud, one count of fourth-degree criminal tax fraud, and three counts of repeated failure to file personal income and earnings taxes.
The mayor, who appeared before the judge in handcuffs, ignored reporters’ questions as she left court with her husband and their attorney.
The Beckermans, of Linden Lane in Muttontown, are due back in court on May 30. If convicted, they face a maximum of 5 to 15 years in prison.
“While nobody likes taxes, we are obligated to file them and pay our fair share, so it’s especially disturbing that a doctor and an elected official allegedly failed to file their taxes for five years,” said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
But Altchiler said “you’ll see that efforts were undertaken to try to comply. There were filings made with the state.”
Records show Adam Beckerman is a gastroenterologist with an office in Seaford.
The state Department of Taxation and Finance discovered the failure to pay taxes and brought it to the DA’s office for prosecution, DA’s office spokeswoman Miriam Sholder said.
A tax department spokesman said anyone found to be delinquent on tax payments is given warnings and opportunities to pay before law enforcement authorities are contacted.
Julianne Beckerman was first elected village mayor in 2006, and most recently re-elected in 2014 when she ran on the slate of the Concerned Taxpayers Party.
She said then her goal was to try to help strengthen the village’s fiscal stability.The toney North Shore village has about 3,400 residents and is part of the Town of Oyster Bay.
Mary Marks, who served as a village trustee for more than eight years until 2016, said she was “shocked” to hear of the arrests.
Marks called Mayor Beckerman “very intelligent, probably one of the smartest people I know.”
“I know she treated everyone equitably and fairly,” she said. “She always did what was right for the village. I have the utmost respect for her.”
Trustee Fahim Roufail said Beckerman has been “doing very good as the mayor” and should be able to remain in office if she wants.
“We have to wait until the court decides whether she is innocent or not,” he said.
Other trustees did not return phone calls or declined to comment, as did employees at Village Hall.
Village of MUTTONTOWN
- Population 3,626
- Median Household income $230,179
- Median Home Value $1,561,700
- Muttontown was named for the thousands of sheep that grazed the area in the mid-1600s.
- Sources: US Census, American Community Survey, 2015; Newsday and the Nassau County and Muttontown website.