MINEOLA, N.Y. - Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a former Democratic Party official, who had earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from local government contracts, pleaded guilty today to state tax fraud charges.
Gerard Terry, 63, of Roslyn Heights pled guilty today before Supervising Judge Christopher Quinn to Criminal Tax Fraud in the 4th degree (an E felony). The defendant is due back in court for sentencing on November 29.
“It was the taxpayers who gave Gerard Terry most of his business, so his failure to pay his own share in taxes is all the more outrageous,” DA Singas said. “We expect those who do business with our governments to follow the law and play by the rules, and this case underscores the importance of enacting strong controls to ensure that government contractors are properly vetted and hired through an open, transparent, and competitive process.”
DA Singas said that the investigation into Terry’s tax returns began in January 2016 following media reports of tax warrants against Terry and his own public admission to a large unpaid tax debt. The NCDA investigation found that, based on income records and tax warrants, Terry earned an average annual income of $200,000 to $300,000 since 2000 and regularly failed to voluntarily pay New York State personal income taxes.
Additionally, the investigation found that despite his public statement and April 2016 arrest, the defendant failed to file a 2015 NYS income tax return or to request an extension on or before April 18, 2016, the deadline for tax year 2015 filing. New York State taxpayers who are unable to file tax returns and pay income taxes due also have the option of filing a request for an extension with a payment on or before the deadline, but Terry did neither.
After he became aware of federal and state investigations, the Terry filed some New York State personal income tax returns for the period of 2000-2015, but never remitted the payments due for any of those returns. In addition to involuntary garnishments of his wages and income taxes automatically withheld from his salary, the current amount of state income tax owed, without penalties and interest, is more than $100,000.
The investigation also uncovered evidence that Terry failed to report thousands of dollars of income on the New York State income tax returns which tax preparers filed on his behalf for tax years 2013, 2014, and 2015. As a result, the income reported on those returns is understated and thereby false. This omission also affects the amount of tax liability actually due.
Until January 2016, Terry was the Democratic Party Chairman of the Town of North Hempstead. He entered into contracts with the Town of North Hempstead since 2004 to serve in various legal capacities, including Town Attorney, counsel to the Board of Zoning Appeals, and counsel to the Housing Authority. Terry also served as counsel to the Roosevelt Public Library, the Freeport Community Development Agency, the Long Beach Housing Authority, and Hempstead Housing Authority. He was also the attorney for the Village of Manorhaven until 2012 and served as a longtime attorney at the Nassau County Board of Elections, a position which he stepped down from in February of 2016.
The investigation was conducted jointly with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
The case is being prosecuted by Chief Diane Peress of DA Singas’ Economic Crimes Bureau and Chief Christine Maloney of DA Singas’ Public Corruption Bureau. Terry is represented by Steven Scaring, Esq.