MTA bus worker charged with tax fraud on second business running Brooklyn auto body shop

An MTA bus worker ran a second business operating an auto body shop in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and allegedly stole almost $40,000 in unpaid taxes from his side hustle.

An MTA bus worker is charged with stealing almost $40,000 in unpaid taxes from his side hustle running an auto body repair shop in Brooklyn, according to court documents.

Desmond Stanislaus, of East Flatbush, deprived the state and city of more than $37,000 in lost tax revenue by massively underreporting the income from his other business, Puma’s Auto Care Inc, based in Canarsie, according to a complaint by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. 

An auditor with the state’s Department of Taxation And Finance (DTF) found that between February 28, 2014, and February 29, 2020, the defendant earned $597,354 in gross sales, but allegedly only declared $188,283 in tax filings, failing to report $409,071. 

He also failed to pay more than $3,000 in taxes each year from 2014-2019.

In 2017, the business owner started working for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in bus maintenance, apparently in violation of the mass transit agency’s rules about dual employment and outside activity.

MTA employees are supposed to declare any outside income or jobs to avoid conflicts of interest and workers falling asleep on shifts from doing double duty. 

The defendant failed to file his personal income tax returns from 2014-2016, and from 2017-2019 only reported his MTA income, and never in those years reported his income from the auto body shop in those filings, according to court documents.

In 2019, he also allegedly deposited a lump sum of $30,000 in cash in his personal checking account, which didn’t appear on his filings.

The case started with a complaint to the MTA’s Office of Inspector General, the agency’s internal watchdog, which referred it to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.

The state auditor used DTF records, insurance payments, and bank documents to uncover Stanislaus’s alleged misdeeds.

Cops arrested Stanislaus on June 16 and he was arraigned before Kings County Criminal Court on Aug. 17, facing four felony charges of tax fraud and six misdemeanor charges for failing file his returns. His next court appearance is Oct. 4.

An attorney for Stanislaus declined to comment.

An MTA spokesperson said the employee has been suspended without pay pending the results of the criminal proceeding. The authority is also examining whether Stanislaus committed a possible dual employment violation.

This story first appeared on amNewYork.