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Bowery Restaurant Store Owner Guilty of Tax Fraud

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The owner of Daroma Restaurant Equipment at 180 Bowery pleaded guilty to tax fraud last month.

The owner of a large restaurant equipment and supply store on the Bowery has admitted to failing to report nearly $2 million in state and city sales taxes, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Meir Markovitz, 53, of Manhattan, was convicted late last month of one felony count each of attempted grand larceny in the first degree and city tax fraud in the fourth degree, according to court records. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors struck May 25, Markovitz admitted failing to turn over 90 percent of the sales taxes he collected from customers since 2004, as well as filing a false New York City corporate tax return in 2010 that understated the business’s receipts by two-thirds.

“At a time when New York City is cutting services to make ends meet, the hard work of enforcing the tax laws matters now more than ever,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a prepared statement. “The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers pay their fair share of taxes.”

In addition to the more than $1.8 million in taxes that were not turned over to the government, Markovitz must repay interest and a $50,000 fine, said Tracy Golden, a spokeswoman for Vance’s office. Markovitz has already repaid $3 million toward his total debt of almost $5 million, and is expected to pay another $1 million by the time he is sentenced Sept. 28. The plea deal requires him to serve 48 consecutive weekends in jail.

Markovitz’s attorney, Brian Maas, did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment. Daroma Restaurant Equipment, which incorporated in 1975 and moved from 231 Bowery to a new space at 180 Bowery this spring, is open for business as usual. Its metal roll-down gates were recently painted as part of an art project, “After Hours: Murals on the Bowery” as part of the Festival of Ideas for the New City.

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