YONKERS, NY — February 7, 2013 — Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore today announced that Lionel Thomas (DOB 03/15/77) of 421 North Broadway, Yonkers, New York, was arraigned on a Felony Complaint charging him with:
Between October 31, 2012 and November 29, 2012, the defendant, a former employee of the City of Yonkers Taxation and Finance Department, located at 40 South Broadway in Yonkers, engaged in a scheme defrauding a number of tax payers of the City of Yonkers.
On six separate occasions, the defendant demanded and received cash “fees” for processing legitimate tax payments from Yonkers’ residents. The defendant did not have the authority to charge the “fees” and withheld the “fees” from the City of Yonkers.
Specifically, on October 31, 2012, the defendant fraudulently induced one taxpayer to pay him a $380.00 surcharge in “late fees” on the victim’s taxes, when in fact no such late fees were properly chargeable.
In similar fashion, the defendant fraudulently induced another taxpayer on November 15, 2012 to pay him a $250.00 surcharge in cash for late fees on taxes.
On November 27, 2012 the defendant fraudulently induced a third taxpayer to pay him a $360.00 surcharge in cash for late fees on taxes.
On November 28, 2012 the defendant fraudulently induced a fourth taxpayer to pay him a $320.00 surcharge in cash for late fees on taxes.
On November 28, 2012 the defendant fraudulently induced a fifth taxpayer to pay him a $220.00 surcharge in cash for late fees on taxes.
And on November 29, 2012 the defendant fraudulently induced a sixth taxpayer to pay him a $360.00 surcharge in cash for late fees on taxes.
After the victim would pay the “fee” in cash, the defendant would issue an official looking “receipt” for the money.
The scheme unraveled when one of the victims thought the cash “fee’ to be suspicious and called the Department of Taxation and Finance asking about the policy.
The investigation by the Yonkers police department is continuing and further victims of this fraud are anticipated.
“At a time when the City of Yonkers is cutting services to balance its budget, collecting legitimate tax revenue matters now more than ever. Although no one enjoys paying taxes, citizens of Yonkers should feel confident that their hard earned money is going to finance their quality of life and services and not into the pocket of a City employee who established his own taxing authority,” said District Attorney Janet DiFiore after the defendant was arraigned.
The defendant was released on his own recognizance.
The defendant’s next court date is March 28th, 2013.
He faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.
Assistant District Attorney Brian Conway, Deputy Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau, is prosecuting the case.