Poor Helmer Toro, owner of the legendary H&H Bagels, can’t seem to stay out of trouble. In summer 2008 we noted some of his legal and financial woes, including a $2.335 million property lien brought against him by the IRS. Toro had previously been accused of shunting some of his tax liability to a quality control manager, which may have sent up a red flag in the office of Manhattan D.A.’ Robert Morgenthau, who today indicted Toro on six counts of grand larceny, one count of offering a false instrument for filing, and two counts of violating the labor law through unemployment insurance tax rate manipulation…
Not only did Toro collect from H&H employees $369,318.77 in payroll taxes which somehow never wound up with the taxman, D.A. Morgenthau charges — Toro also cheated on unemployment taxes (also withheld from employees!) by setting up no less than six dummy corporations, year after year, which enabled him to “obtain an advantageous rate for his unemployment insurance payments.” As the shell companies basically represented all the same bagel operations and employees, this is illegal.
Helmer, a pioneer in great bagel-making, is now also a pioneer in local jurisprudence, as he is the first person charged under a 2006 New York law designed to haul in companies that cheat on unemployment taxes.
As five of the felony counts are Class C, and subject to up to 15 years imprisonment each, Toro is in some deep cream cheese.