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Orange County Businessman Pleads Guilty To Underreporting Income By $1M

Alvaro Merino, 59
Alvaro Merino, 59 Photo Credit: Orange County District Attorney's Office

A 59-year-old Orange County business owner pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud for underreporting his income by $1,086,654, according to Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler.

Courtesy Maintenance, Inc., a Bronx-based commercial cleaning company owned by Alvaro Merino of Cornwall, pleaded guilty to evading taxes in the amount of $188,579, the DA's office said.

As part of a plea agreement, the corporation and Merino are required to pay all the outstanding taxes on or before March 8, the date he will be sentenced, Hoovler said.

Merino also pleaded guilty in the Town of Cornwall Court to criminal tax fraud on Wednesday and was sentenced to a conditional discharge.

Merino and his company were caught following an investigation by the District Attorney's Office after being referred by the state Department of Taxation and Finance.

In 2014 the Orange County District Attorney Office began taking part in the Crimes Against Revenue Program (CARP) that provides funding for an assistant district attorney to prosecute thefts of government funds. In 2016, Orange County was fourth highest in New York State in CARP recoveries.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Eric Parker.

“The evasion of taxes by filing fraudulent documents is something that cannot be tolerated,” said Hoovler. “This case is only one example of the close working relationship that my office has developed with the Criminal Investigations Division of the New York State Tax Department and with the New York State Police."

Hoovler added that no one wants to pay taxes, but evasion diminishes the money available to fund police, firefighters, and other essential government services.

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