Attorney General And State Tax Department Dismantle Bootleg Gas Operation
State Attorney General Spitzer and State Taxation and Finance Commissioner Andrew S. Eristoff today announced that a Brooklyn grand jury has indicted eight individuals and six corporations for their alleged involvement in a scheme to illegally import hundreds of thousands of gallons of untaxed gasoline from New Jersey into New York.
Four of the indicted individuals and all six of the indicted corporations are charged with the crime of Enterprise Corruption. The other four individuals are charged with various tax felonies. The indictments stem from a two year-long investigation conducted by the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force and the State Tax Department.
"These indictments demonstrate that the state will actively pursue those who seek to evade paying state taxes and game the system," Spitzer said.
New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Andrew S. Eristoff said, "We are pleased that our joint enforcement with the Attorney General's Office has resulted in the arrests and indictments of these individuals and corporations. Bootleg gasoline robs the State of tax revenue which helps maintain our roads, bridges and mass transit systems. In addition, bootleg gas may not conform to New York's air quality standards, potentially jeopardizing the quality of the air we breathe. The Tax Department will continue to work with other enforcement agencies to keep illegal gasoline out of New York State."
In the Enterprise Corruption indictment, it is alleged that between March, 2005 and December, 2005, the defendants participated in a criminal enterprise which defrauded gas station owners and their customers while evading New York State taxes on motor fuels. In a companion civil forfeiture case, the Attorney General's office has secured an Order of Attachment for more than $3 million against the Enterprise Corruption defendants.
Dubbed the Gladyshev Criminal Enterprise by the grand jury, the defendants were headquartered at 2675 Haring St. in Brooklyn. From offices at that location, the defendants, allegedly acting as unlicensed motor fuel transporters, are accused of defrauding gas station owners by delivering regular gasoline to the gas station's premium tanks while charging the stations for the more expensive, higher octane fuel.
The station owners would then, unwittingly, pass the expense of this fraud along to motorists, who paid premium prices for regular gasoline. It is also charged that the defendants would short-change the gas stations by falsely claiming to have delivered more gallons of gasoline than were actually delivered to the station, and billing the station for the inflated amount.
The defendants are also charged with evading New York State motor fuel taxes by purchasing motor fuels from terminals in New Jersey where motor fuel taxes are lower, and falsely claiming that the fuel was to be delivered to gasoline stations in New Jersey. This caused the New Jersey terminal operators to collect only New Jersey's motor fuel taxes on the transaction. In fact, the indictment alleges, the criminal enterprise would illegally import the motor fuel into New York and sell it to gas stations in New York City and on Long Island, preparing false documentation to deceive the station owners and charging those stations as though New York's higher taxes had been paid.
Finally, the indictment charges that members of the criminal enterprise sought to coerce persons who dropped out of the enterprise into making payments to the members of the enterprise through actual and threatened assaults, and damage to their property.Charged in the Enterprise Corruption indictment are:
- Eduard Gladyshev a/k/a Oleg Mechnevski, 28, 2775 Shore Parkway, Apt 4C, Brooklyn
- Alexander Tkach, 53, 2818 East 27th Street, Apt. 1A, Brooklyn
- Paul Zukowski, 39, 28 Sutton Street, Brooklyn
- Oleg Stoma, 38, 354 Van Sicklen Street, Apt 3C, Brooklyn
Also charged with Enterprise Corruption are several corporations which were allegedly set up and utilized by the individual defendants to perpetrate their schemes: A&E Petroleum Corp., DI Petroleum Corp., Express X Corp., Zan USA, Inc., Express Petroleum Transportation Corp., and Max Truck Repair, Inc..
Additionally, four individuals are charged with various tax felonies and conspiracy in a separate indictment. They are:
- Gennadi Auxtin a/k/a Gennadi Okestin, 35, 8833 26th Avenue, Brooklyn
- Ihor Shevchenko, 36, 175 Pembroke Street, Brooklyn
- Igor Zdankevitch a/k/a Igor Stunkivitch, 42, 154 Bay 10th Street, Brooklyn
- Oleg Poretsky a/k/a "Oleg 2", 46, 435 Neptune Avenue, Apt 17E, Brooklyn
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by First Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert Biancavilla and Assistant Deputy Attorney General David Paldy of the Organized Crime Task Force, under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Christopher Prather, the head of the Task Force. The investigation was led by Tax Investigators Alec Zef and Janet Mullins, along with Forensic Accountant B. J. Stramezzi under the supervision of Thomas Stanton, Director of Tax Enforcement, for the New York State Tax Department's Petroleum, Alcohol and Tobacco Bureau, and by OCTF Investigators Kerry Buttner, John Leslie, Lana Zavulunov and Semyon Ginzburg under the direction of OCTF Supervising Investigator Diego Cruz.