New York Announces Guilty Plea of Restaurateur for Failing to Pay Sales Tax
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the guilty plea of Christopher Klee and his business, CKP Holdings, for failing to file numerous sales tax returns and remit over $175,000 in sales tax that was collected at two Sonora’s Mexican Restaurant locations. Klee will be required to pay over $350,000 to the Department of Taxation and Finance for unpaid sales tax, penalties, and interest.
“When New Yorkers spend their hard-earned money, they expect the business is following the rules,” said Schneiderman. “My office will continue to hold accountable those who seek to steal from taxpayers to line their own pockets.”
While there is no indication this case was brought by a whistleblower, the New York State False Claims Act allows whistleblowers who know of violations of New York tax laws to file a “qui tam” lawsuit. A successful whistleblower will receive between 15 and 30 percent of the lawsuit’s recovery. The Act is most often applied in the healthcare sector, but the statute specifically allows whistleblower suits based on violations of the state’s tax laws, provided the violator’s annual income exceeds $1 million and the damages exceed $350,000.