STEUBEN COUNTY (WENY) - A Steuben County restauranteur has pleaded guilty to failing to pay more than $175,000 in sales tax.
Schneiderman says Christopher Klee, 56, failed to file numerous sales tax returns and remit over $750,000 in sales tax that was collect at two Sonora's Mexican Restaurant locations in Bath and Corning. He will be required to pay $350,000 to the Department of Taxation and Finance for unpaid sales tax, penalties, and interest.
Klee pleaded guilty to Petit Larceny in Steuben County Court. His holding company, CKP Holdings, LLC, pleaded guilty to 3rd degree Grand Larceny. As part of his plea, Klee paid $225,000 to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for the unpaid sales tax, related penalties, and interest.
The Bath restaurant was located at 330 W. Morris Street. It opened in September 2004. An investigation and audit revealed that from September 2006 through August 2011, the Bath restaurant failed to file sales tax returns and made over $1,850,000 in total sales tax and collected more than $140,000 in sales tax it didn't send to New York State.
The Corning restaurant, former on Market Street, opened in February 2010, under the name CKP Holdings, LLC. An audit revealed no sales tax returns were filed by the restaurant between December 2009 and November 2011. The restaurant made more than $480,000 in total sales in that time and collected over $38,000 in sales tax that was not given to the state.
In November 2011, one year after the DTF began their investigation, Klee submitted seven sales tax returns and remitted approximately $35,000 in collected sales tax to New York State covering the period from December 1, 2009 through August 31, 2011, according to the Attorney General's office. However, Klee failed to file a sales tax return for the last quarter ending November 30, 2011, and still owed over $3,500 in collected sales tax for that quarter alone, says the Attorney General.
Klee will be sentenced on March 26th. According to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, he will be sentenced to supervised release. Klee will also have to pay the remaining $129,380.40 to the Department of Taxation and Finance as a condition of his sentence.