26 THE QUEENS COURIER • AUGUST 30, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
College Point spa owners admit to tax fraud
BY EMILY DAVENPORT
firstname.lastname@example.org / @QNS
Th e owners of a College Point spa with
a troublesome past will pay big for
fraud charges, the state attorney general
announced on Thursday.
Spa Castle Inc., located at 131-10 11th
Ave., and Spa Castle Corporate Officer
Daniel Chon both pleaded guilty to felony
tax fraud charges on Aug. 23. Spa
Castle will pay a total of $2.5 million in
criminal restitution and civil damages.
“We have zero tolerance for tax cheats
who leave New Yorkers to foot the
bill,” said Attorney General Barbara D.
Underwood. “The defendants orchestrated
a multimillion-dollar scheme to
defraud taxpayers. We’re grateful to
the whistleblower who helped bring
this egregious conduct to light – and it
should serve as a wake-up call to all tax
fraudsters who think their misconduct
will go by unnoticed.”
Spa Castle, which offers services such
as massages, saunas, facials, swimming
pools and other amenities, reportedly
generated $22 million per year in revenue
between 2010 and 2013. According
to court documents, a whistleblower
filed an action pursuant to the qui
tam provisions of the New York False
Claims Act in the fall of 2014, prompting
a civil investigation into Spa Castle.
After the preliminary investigation
into the information that the tipster
provided, a criminal investigation was
opened against Spa Castle; investigators
determined that management had
substantial indications of knowingly
In August 2015, investigators executed
a search warrant of the Spa Castle
facility and found records that indicated
that the defendants avoided paying
required sales, corporate and MTA
surcharge taxes by underreporting the
money that was earned at the facility by
millions of dollars. The criminal indictment
was filed against Spa Castle and
its owners in March 2017.
“This conviction proves that the
local community is watching and they
won’t stay silent when business owners
violate their trust,” said Acting
Tax Commissioner Nonie Manion.
“Robbing New Yorkers of funding for
vital public programs and services carries
serious consequences and we’ll
continue to work with the Attorney
General and all our law enforcement
partners to bring tax cheats to justice.
Photo courtesy of Facebook/Spa Castle
Spa Castle has had a lengthy, dubious
history with the law. In February
2018, it was reported that the spa was
hit with a fine for violating child labor
laws. Two years prior in 2016, a 6-yearold
girl nearly drowned in a Spa Castle
pool, prompting the city to shut down
the spa to investigate their facilities.
It was also reported that there were
several instances of patrons having
sex inside the spa’s pools. The Health
Department also hit Spa Castle with 49
violations between 2014 and 2015.
Cops: Cosmetics thief hit same Bayside pharmacy once too often
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
Going to the well one too many times,
a suspected shoplift er who hit the same
Bayside drug store twice this month was
caught during his third visit to the location
on Th ursday morning, police said.
At about 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 23, offi cers
from the 111th Precinct responded to a
911 call from employees at the CVS pharmacy
located at 215-16 73rd Ave., in the
Oakland Gardens section of Bayside.
According to law enforcement sources,
store employees contacted police aft er
spotting Bronx resident Jose Hernandez,
43, entering the establishment. Th ey recognized
him from two previous shoplift -
ing incidents at the location.
On its Twitter page, the 111th Precinct
noted that the suspect allegedly stole
“some expensive cosmetics” from the
Police sources said Hernandez visited
the location at 7:40 p.m. on Aug. 9 and
removed more than $1,500 in cosmetic
products, then returned to the store at 9
a.m. on Aug. 16 and stole another $2,000
in assorted cosmetics.
Responding plainclothes offi cers located
Hernandez on Aug. 23 shortly aft er
arriving at the scene. Th ey took him into
custody aft er fi nding him in possession
of an unidentifi ed controlled substance,
police sources said.
Cops say this man, identifi ed as Bronx resident Jose Hernandez, shoplifted from the same CVS Pharmacy in Bayside twice this month.
Upon further investigation, police
linked Hernandez to a similar shoplift -
ing incident that occurred on July 12 at a
CVS in the confi nes of the Flushing-based
Hernandez faces charges of grand larceny,
criminal possession of a controlled
substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia.
Photo via Google Maps/Inset via Twitter, @NYPD111Pct
Captain John Hall, commander of the
111th Precinct, took to Twitter on Aug.
23 to announce the arrest.