Yankee Clipper Food Services I Corporation on felony charges stemming from an extensive scheme to avoid paying New York taxes between 2011 and 2015. Following an investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Office, the company, along with several individuals and affiliated airport food service companies doing business under the trade name “Express Hospitality Group,” agreed to pay $13 million to settle separately filed civil claims initially raised by a whistleblower under New York State’s False Claims Act. The plea and civil settlement are the first resolution in the Attorney General’s ongoing investigation into the contracting and procurement process at JFK Airport—an investigation dubbed “Operation Greased Runway.”
“For years, Express Hospitality Group disregarded state law and New York taxpayers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Today’s felony conviction and settlement should send a clear message to those attempting to avoid paying their fair share: tax evasion is illegal, disgraceful — and it will not be tolerated.”
The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Express Hospitality Group engaged in schemes by which certain of its businesses intentionally underpaid over $5 million in taxes owed to New York and underpaid approximately $350,000 owed to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as part of a fee for operating at the airport. The investigation also uncovered that the company’s tax schemes involved maintaining a double set of books, collecting – but failing to remit – State and City sales tax, failing to withhold taxes on employee compensation, and underreporting receipts for corporate franchise tax purposes.