Owners of popular Central New York bars, restaurants convicted of tax evasion

Regional News

CORTLAND, N.Y. (WUTR) — The owners to popular upstate New York establishments were convicted of tax evasion by the New York Attorney General and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner on Monday.

New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Amanda Hiller today announced that George Seibel, 60, of Homer, and Anthony Caruso, 60, of Cortland, plead guilty to tax evasion. Seibel and Caruso are owners of several restaurants and bars in the region including the Dark Horse Tavern, A Pizza and More, Hairy Tony’s and Dasher’s Corner Pub.

According to the Office of the Attorney General, both Seibel and Caruso pleaded guilty to Criminal Tax Fraud for underreporting over $4 million in taxable sales between 2010 and 2015. The two also failed to remit over $75,000 in sales tax collected from their six different establishments.

Specific findings from the investigation, provided by the Office of the Attorney General, for each establishment are detailed below:

APAM: A Pizza and More, Cortland, Homer and Tully, New York

  • An audit of sales tax returns for the period between December 1, 2011 and May 31, 2015 revealed that Seibel and Caruso underreported A Pizza and More’s taxable sales by $1,948,166.04. As a result, Seibel, Caruso, and APAM failed to remit $158,653.28 in sales tax.

Hairy Tony’s, Cortland, New York

  • A Tax Department audit of sales tax returns for the period between December 1, 2010 and May 31, 2015 revealed that Caruso underreported Hairy Tony’s taxable sales by $1,637,649.90, and failed to remit $131,024.98 in sales tax .

Dark Horse Tavern, Cortland, New York:

  • A Tax Department audit of sales tax returns for the period between March 1, 2012 and November 30, 2015 revealed that Seibel underreported Dark Horse Tavern’s taxable sales by $1,098,799.73, and failed to remit $90,895.47 in sales tax

Dasher’s Corner Pub, Homer, New York:

  •  A Tax Department audit of sales tax returns for the period between June 1, 2012 and May 31, 2015 revealed that Seibel failed to remit $98,629.32 in sales tax due to New York state

As a part of their pleas, Seibel and Caruso repaid the state $479,203.03 that was owed.

“We will not allow anyone to get away with stealing from the state’s coffers,” said Attorney General James. “These guilty pleas ensure that these establishments finally pony up the cash they illegally pocketed and rein in their dishonest behavior. I want to thank Acting Commissioner Hiller for her leadership and her department’s critical work in protecting New York taxpayers.”

The OAG confirmed that on April 30, before the Honorable Gerald Keene in Cortland County Court, Seibel pleaded guilty to two additional counts of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree, and Caruso pleaded guilty to two counts of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree.

Additionally, Academy Avenue Enterprises, Inc. and Anthony Caruso, LLC also pleaded guilty to one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree pertaining to the Dark Horse Tavern and Hairy Tony’s respectively.

Both Seibel and Caruso were both sentenced to one-year conditional discharges.

The investigation by OAG was conducted by Detective Investigator Joel Cordone, under the supervision of Supervising Detective Richard Doyle and Deputy Chief Antoine Karam. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Oliver Pu-Folkes. 

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