New York: An India-born tailor to many US celebrities including baseball legend Rickey Henderson and basketball player Wilt Chamberlain has pleaded guilty to tax evasion of about USD 2 million.
Mohanbhai Ramchandani, of Mohan's Custom Tailors, admitted to collecting USD 1.7 million in taxes from customers that he did not pay and to underpaying his personal income taxes by USD 256,000.
Over a decade, his revered little studio near Grand Central Terminal here brought in USD 28 million but reported only USD 5.6 million on tax returns, according to The New York Times.
66-year-old Ramchandani yesterday appeared in State Supreme Court in Manhattan and agreed to serve a prison sentence of one to three years and to pay USD 5.5 million in back taxes and penalties within two years.
Justice Larry Stephen released Ramchandani without bail until his formal sentencing in the state case, scheduled for September. He could face up to three years in prison at sentencing.
"There are no excuses for tax cheats, regardless of how prominent they are," said Eric T Schneiderman, the New York attorney general.
"As an immigrant to the United States, I have worked hard all my life to build a good business, support my family and contribute to the community," Ramchandani said in a statement.
"I made several mistakes with regard to the payment of taxes and I take full responsibility for my actions."
Ramchandani's legal troubles began when an ex-employee, Vijay Tharwani, filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against him, which led to charges being filed by the state attorney general's office. Under the terms of the plea and settlement agreement, Tharwani will receive USD 1.1 million from the money Ramchandani is to repay.
Ramchandani enjoyed renown as the tailor to New York's premier athletes. In a 1993 profile in The NYT, he recalled coming here from India in 1972 and toiling in relative obscurity, offering conservative suits for bankers and accountants.