The current and former owner of popular Mineola restaurant Churrasqueira Brasa Rodizio were recently arrested for allegedly failing to pay more than $330,000 in sales tax to the New York State Department of Taxation for four years.
Former co-owner Paul Batista, 44, of North Carolina, was arraigned April 20 before District Court Judge Scott Siller, released on his own recognizance and ordered to surrender his passport. He is due back in court on June 8.
Current owner Joseph Rosmaninho, 42, of Smithtown, was arraigned Wednesday, April 21, before District Court Judge Scott Siller, released on his own recognizance and ordered to surrender his passport. He is due back in court on June 7.
Both Batista and Rosmaninho have been charged with second-degree grand larceny, three counts second-degree criminal tax fraud, third-degree criminal tax fraud and fifth-degree criminal tax fraud.
If convicted on the top count, the defendants face a maximum of 15 years’ incarceration.
“These defendants allegedly pocketed sales tax money that should have gone towards vital government services like fixing our roads and funding youth services,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “Most New Yorkers meet their tax obligations, but some cheat the system and create a burden for everyone else.”
“Instead of sending the sales tax collected from customers to New York State, which is required by law, the defendants are accused of using it for their own personal gain,” said New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “Our agency will continue to vigorously investigate anyone who appears to violate our sales tax laws.”
Singas said the defendants, while co-owners of Portuguese restaurant Churrasqueira Brasa Rodizio, a Portuguese restaurant, at 100 Herricks Rd. in Mineola, allegedly underreported sales tax collected from customers to the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance from Sept. 1, 2011, through Dec. 10, 2015. During that time PBJ Rodizio Inc., doing business as Churrasqueira Brasa Rodizio, allegedly failed to remit $333,794.89 of collected sales tax.
Rosmaninho acquired Batista’s share of the business during the summer of 2016 and is the current owner of the restaurant.
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance reviewed the restaurant’s records and commenced a criminal investigation in October 2015 after it was discovered that the restaurant allegedly underreported taxable sales every quarter that they filed their sales tax returns. The NYS Department of Finance brought the case to the NCDA for prosecution in December 2016.
Sales tax is required to be collected from customers by business owners. The business owners are required to remit the sales tax money to New York State. One half of the sales tax collected in Nassau County belongs to New York State and the other half belongs to the county.
Rosmaninho surrendered to NCDA detective investigators April 20 and Batista surrendered April 21.
Assistant District Attorney Heidi Bausk of DA Singas’ Economic Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case. Rosmaninho is represented by E. David Woycik Jr., Esq. and Batitsta is represented by Louis Martins, Esq.
—Submitted by the District Attorney’s Office