A joint investigation between Kings County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance termed “The Operation Bracelet” has led to the indictment of three jewelry stores and their Presidents.
The two year long undercover operation covering 27 stores in Brooklyn, involved the use of detectives who posed as customers. They also recorded offers by jewelers to waive sales tax on all cash sales.At 17 out of the 27 stores investigators were told that the jewelry store will not charge them the sales tax if they were to pay cash instead of credit card. The investigations are said to continue and more arrests are likely.
The three jewelers indicted include Gold Fine Art Jewelers and its president Ghassan Maalouf, Pavillion Jewelers and its president Saeed Azarfar and Crystal Sparkse and its President Alexander Shamayev.
According to the north country gazette. com falsification of business records, offering a false instrument for filling and other charges were brought forward forthe indictment of Golden Art Fine Jewelers and their president ,Ghassan Maalouf.
Pavillion jewelers and its president Saeed Azarfar under reported its taxable sales, thereby resulting in a sales tax liability of US$ 350,000.
Crystal Sparkse also under reported taxable sales, resulting in a sales tax liability of USD$ 550,000.
If convicted each of them can face up to 4 years in prison.
William Comiskey, the state deputy commisioner of tax enforcement said “We have seen enough of this, billions are been diverted out of state coffers”.
Seville Jewelers, C and S Jewelers and Valentino Jewelers pleaded guilty and remitted $100,248.96, $92, 393.48 and $ 52,497.97 respectively to the City and State of New York.