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Former Upper East Side Chef Indicted for Pocketing $328K in Taxes, DA Says

By Shaye Weaver | April 11, 2017 8:09am
 A.J. Black was indicted for tax fraud on Monday, according to the District Attorney's office.
A.J. Black was indicted for tax fraud on Monday, according to the District Attorney's office.
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Facebook/Il Tesoro NYC

UPPER EAST SIDE —  The owner and executive chef of the former Il Tesoro restaurant on First Avenue was indicted Monday for cheating the state out of $328,000 in taxes, the Manhattan District Attorney's office said.

Despite doing $3.7 million in sales between September 2011 and June 2015, A.J. Black didn't report those sales or file quarterly tax returns over the four years he ran the restaurant, totaling $328,000, according to District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

"This defendant is accused of pocketing the sales tax he charged his customers for four years, purposefully evading his tax obligations," Vance said. "In addition to defrauding the state, failing to remit and report sales taxes creates an un-level playing field for other independent, mom-and-pop restaurateurs who are following the law."

In 2013, Black gave his Italian restaurant at 1578 First Ave. a $200,000 makeover with new outdoor seating, a dining room with exposed brick, new butcher block tables, and new lighting and mirrors.

Il Tesoro was closed as of June 9, 2015, with signs on its windows saying the Marshal's office had possessed the space.

Black, 49, was charged Monday with one count of grand larceny, four counts of criminal tax fraud in the second degree, 13 counts of criminal tax fraud in the third degree and one count of criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree — all felonies, the DA's office said.

The judge set his bail at $50,000 cash or bond.

Black's attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.