Famous Woodside restaurant owner found guilty of million dollar tax evasion

The owner of Mamajuana Cafe Queens, pictured, was arrested for defrauding the state of at least $1 million in sales tax. Photos Google Maps)

June 9, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

The owner of a well-known restaurant and nightclub in Woodside has been found guilty of defrauding the state out of at least $1 million in sales tax.

Oscar Monegro, owner of Mamajuana Café Queens, located at 33-15 56th St., pleaded guilty to robbery and felony tax evasion for filing false financial reports over an eight-year period, the Department of Health announced Monday. New York State Tax and Finance. .

The case was prosecuted by the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

According to the charges, Monegro under-reported its sales revenue between December 2012 and February 2020 and failed to pay $1 million in sales tax it had collected.

Monegro’s crimes were uncovered by tax investigators as they analyzed his returns. He operates the restaurant, which has a distinctly Latin theme, under the corporate name Culturas Fiesta Inc.

Monegro was ordered to pay back $1 million in restitution, prosecutors said. They did not say whether any fines or penalties were imposed on him.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said Monegro stole the money to line their pockets. However, she said the refund will now help fund community services.

“Tax evasion hurts our economy and diverts funds from vital public programs…it won’t hold up in Queens County,” Katz said.

Amanda Hiller, acting New York State Tax and Finance Commissioner, echoed Katz’s sentiments.

“Business owners who steal sales tax paid by their customers deprive their communities of revenue for vital public programs and services — and put law-abiding businesses at a disadvantage,” Hiller said.

“We will continue to work with all of our law enforcement partners to uncover tax evasion and level the playing field for all businesses.”

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