Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
June 20, 2012

DA VANCE: MIDTOWN RESTAURANT OWNER SENTENCED TO STATE PRISON TIME IN TAX FRAUD CASE

Owner of FireBird Restaurant Pled Guilty to Grand Larceny and Criminal Tax Fraud

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the sentencing of NICHOLAS ROTUNDO, 47, the manager and part-owner of Firebird Restaurant in Midtown, to one-to-three years in state prison for failing to remit approximately $447,000 in collected sales taxes from its customers to New York State. On May 9, 2012, ROTUNDO, pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Criminal Tax Fraud in the Third Degree.  As a condition of his plea agreement, ROTUNDO paid approximately $690,000 on the behalf of Firebird for outstanding New York State and New York City sales taxes, accrued interest and applicable penalties. He also paid approximately $127,600 in withholding tax liability, and approximately $27,650 in outstanding unemployment insurance tax liability. He was also order to pay a $20,000 criminal fine.

“The defendant stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from New York State and its taxpayers,” said District Attorney Vance. “His crimes placed an unfair burden on business owners, who expect and deserve a level playing field. My Office’s Money Laundering and Tax Crimes Unit will continue to investigate and prosecute those who cheat our tax system for their personal benefit.”

New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas Mattox said: “The Tax Department vigorously pursues cases where businesses are collecting sales taxes from customers but not remitting them.   We commend the New York City Department of Finance and the Manhattan District Attorney for their successful prosecution of this case.”

According to documents filed in court, ROTUNDO knowingly withheld approximately $447,000 in sales taxes collected from Firebird’s customers from June 1, 2007 through November 30, 2011. During the same time period, ROTUNDO failed to withhold the true amount of New York State taxes from the salaries of Firebird’s employees, amounting to approximately $80,000 for the period of July 1, 2007 through December 31, 2010.

Assistant District Attorney Gilda Mariani, Chief of the Money Laundering and Tax Crimes Unit, prosecuted this case.


Defendant information:

NICHOLAS ROTUNDO, D.O.B. 06/15/1965
Westbury, NY

Convicted:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Criminal Tax Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

Sentence:

  • 1-to-3 years in state prison
  • $20,000 criminal fine