Defendants Include Taxi Company Owner, Wife And Employees; Allegedly Engaged in Underreporting Income to Collect Ill-Gotten Social Services Assistance
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe on Wednesday announced the arrests of five individuals allegedly involved in a brazen scheme to defraud state and county government agencies of more than $95,000 in welfare benefits, income tax and other revenue.
District Attorney Zugibe said, “These defendants are charged with stealing nearly $100,000 in welfare benefits, utilizing a pernicious plot to secure government money they were not entitled to. Public assistance is intended to help the disadvantaged and truly needy. As a result of this investigation, together with our partners in law enforcement, this fraud was uncovered and the cheats will be brought to justice.”
Angel Henriquez of 45 Church Street, Garnerville, New York is charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class “C” Felony and four counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, class “E” Felonies.
Henriquez, the owner and operator of Nyack Taxi, North Rockland Taxi and Car Service and Apple Taxi, is accused of writing fraudulent letters to the Rockland County Department of Social Services on behalf of five employees. According to the charges, the letters under-reported the income of the employees, rendering each worker eligible to receive DSS benefits to which they were not entitled. As a result of Henriquez’s false filings, the employees improperly obtained a total of $65,000 in DSS benefits.
In addition, Henriquez and his wife, Karolina Diaz-Henriquez, are charged with personally submitting false documentation understating Angel Henriquez’s income. As a result of the alleged phony filings, the couple improperly received more than $29,000 in DSS benefits. Henriquez and Diaz-Henriquez are charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class “D” Felony.
The following taxi employees are charged with benefiting from the fraudulent letters:
James Simpson; Charge: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class “D” Felony
Manuel Ortega; Charge: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class “D” Felony
The arrests are the culmination of an 18-month investigation by the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit, with assistance from the United States Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations, ICE/ESU, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the New York State Department of Labor, the Office of the New York State Inspector General, the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office and the Rockland County Department of Social Services.
Henriquez is additionally charged with failing to report income to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree); failing to collect New York State withholding tax from his employees; failing to remit employee withholding tax to the State of New York (Criminal Tax Fraud in the Third Degree); failing to obtain Worker’s Compensation benefits for his employees and failing to procure Unemployment Insurance for his employees.
Henriquez’s business associate, Richard Morel of 170 Ramapo Road, Apt. E, Garnerville, New York, was also arrested and charged with Failing to Report Income to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree).
District Attorney Zugibe thanked the United States Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations, ICE/ESU, New York State Police, the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, the Rockland County Department of Social Services, the Town of Haverstraw Police Department and the Town of Orangetown Police Department for their assistance with the investigation.
If convicted, Henriquez faces up to 15 years in state prison. Executive Assistant District Attorney Richard Kennison Moran is prosecuting the case. The investigation is ongoing. More arrests are expected.