July 26, 2018 By Tara Law
Two former senior managers of embattled car dealership chain “Major World” pleaded guilty yesterday to filing a false corporate tax return for calendar year 2009.
The pair admitted to under reporting their income and inflated the business’s expenses to avoid paying the taxes owed, and now face up to three years of prison apiece, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Harold Bendell, 64, or Englewood Cliffs, N.J. and Bruce Bendell, 64, of Roslyn, N.Y., were managers of Major Automotive Companies, Inc., which operates as “Major World.”
On or around Aug. 10, the pair filed a corporation tax return for 2009 that did not report approximately $1,417,814 in gross receipts that Major Automotive had received, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. They also did not report $2,116,000 in cash payroll expenses, for which Major Automotive did not pay payroll taxes.
The pair resigned from “Major World” before pleading guilty and paid more than $3,888,267 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said that the prosecution of the pair indicated his office’s commitment to catching individuals who cheat on their taxes.
“By their pleas, Harold and Bruce Bendell admitted that they concealed millions of dollars of their company’s income and avoided paying their fair share of taxes to the United States government,” United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said.
IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge James Robnett discussed the importance of protecting the tax system, which is based on voluntary compliance.
“Harold and Bruce Bendell took unlawful advantage of the system that financially impacts all Americans,” Robnett said. “Our special agents along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office are committed to protecting the system that contributes to our way of life.”
The incident is one of two major scandals to hit Major World in the last few years.
The Department of Consumer Affairs filed charges against Major World for deceptive sales practices in March 2017. The department said that the company has a longstanding practice of fooling customers with deceiving lending practices and falsified vehicle histories.
In December, the department increased the damages sought against the company from $1.5 million to $36.5 million.