H+H Bagels Owner Pleads Guilty

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By Dan Rivoli

It’s a hole-in-one for new Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

The man behind the city’s most famous bagel joint, H+H Bagels, pleaded guilty to tax fraud, the district attorney’s office announced May 27.

Former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau indicted Helmer Toro Nov. 18, 2009, for allegedly stealing tax money taken from his employees’ paychecks and avoiding unemployment insurance tax through six shell companies. The investigation alleged that the 59-year-old Toro pocketed $369,318 in payroll taxes. The fraud is in connection with the popular Upper West Side store at 2239 Broadway and West 80th Street.

“Under no circumstances can employers gain in business by cheating their employees,” Vance said in a statement. “The city’s businesses must adhere to ethical standards and contribute to the tax revenue of the city and state, as well as protect their employees’ interests.”

Jorge Delgado, Toro’s lawyer, could not be reached at the bagel store’s main office in time for a comment.

Despite Toro’s legal problems, the bagel business is running smoothly, according to an employee who answered the phone at H+H Bagels’ main office.

“Yes we are open,” said the employee, who directed additional questions to Delgado. “So far, we employees have no problem.”

Toro, who lives on West 70th Street between Broadway and Columbus Avenue, copped to grand larceny, offering a false instrument for filing and manipulating unemployment insurance tax.

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