A Levittown man who owns six Papa John’s pizza franchises, including the store in Hicksville near the Long Island Rail Road station, was charged Tuesday with stealing more than $800,000 in state sales tax revenue.
District Attorney Investigators arrested Ajay Choudhary, 38, Tuesday morning and charged him with second-degree grand larceny, three counts of criminal tax fraud in the second degree and 19 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
“Mr. Choudhary made a victim out of every New Yorker when he stole taxpayer money that is earmarked to fund the operation of our state and its essential programs,” Rice said. “My office will continue to work with the state to weed out the cheats and scam artists who try to pass their tax burden on to the rest of us.”
Between May 31, 2005, and Aug. 31, 2012, Choudhary, who owns Papa John’s pizza franchises in Hicksville, Valley Stream, Uniondale, Freeport, Inwood, and is the former owner of a location in Farmingdale, allegedly collected sales tax from customers but failed to remit more than $800,000 of it to the state. He also allegedly under-reported sales at his restaurants in his quarterly tax returns.
The arrest is the result of a joint investigation between the DA’s Office, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, and Papa John’s International, Inc.
Assistant District Attorney Kellie McKenna of the DA’s Economic Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case.