When law-abiding citizens were scrambling this week to meet the April 15 deadline to report their taxes, East Rockaway resident Robert Cohan, 27, was one of three men arrested by the Nassau County Attorney’s office for failing to pay theirs. County’s district attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arrest and arraignment of the defendants last week. The cases were unrelated.
Cohan was first arrested in 2013 and pleaded guilty in January 2014 to three counts of grand larceny in the second degree, two counts of grand larceny in the third degree, two counts of grand larceny in the Fourth Degree, one count of tax fraud in the fourth degree, and one count of tax fraud in the fifth degree.
Rice said that Cohan had stolen more than $300,000 from seven clients by promising to perform driveway repair work that was never actually performed. The victims, all senior citizens, provided Cohan with full payment up front, including sales tax. Not only did Cohan not perform the work, he did not remit any of the sales taxes collected from his customers to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Instead, Rice said, he used the money to make bets at area Off-Track Betting establishments. He also failed to file any personal income taxes from 2010 to 2012.
On taking a plea, prosecutors recommended a sentence of 2 to 6 years in prison. Cohan is also expected to pay restitution of $316,682 to the victims, plus restitution to the NYSDTF totaling $787,787.94.
“Everyone is required to report their income and pay the taxes they owe in a timely fashion, regardless of their occupation,” Rice said. “Those who fail to do so create a burden for other taxpayers, including the millions of people rushing to file ahead of the upcoming tax filing deadline. My office will continue to prosecute these cases to help ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.”
“These cases remind us that while the overwhelming number of New Yorkers do the right thing and comply with their tax obligations voluntarily, there are those who try to cheat the system, and by extension every other taxpayer,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox. “That’s why I commend District Attorney Rice and her team for diligently prosecuting these cases.”
Cohan is due back in court for sentencing before Nassau County Court Judge Tammy Robbins on April 30.
Michael Collins, 49, of East Stroudsburg, Pa., and Gerard Losquadro, 61, of Garden City, were also arrested.