RESTAURATEUR BUSTED BY D.A.

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H+H Bagels may have been shuttered for three hours because of outstanding , but Yuval Aroety, owner of the Kosher Mediterranean eatery Nargila Grill, was busted for pocketing money that should have gone to the government.

On July 9, Aroety pled guilty to stealing $310,751 in collected sales tax over a four-and-a-half year period. He dodged state and city corporate taxes as well, according to the district attorney’s office.

“In an era in which the state and city governments are having difficulty funding basic services, it is inexcusable for the well-to-do to avoid paying their fair share of lawful taxes,” said District Attorney Robert Morgenthau in a statement following the arrest. “This disposition should serve as a warning to others that these matters are being prosecuted vigorously.”

Nargila Grill, which has a branch on West 72nd Street between Broadway and West End Avenue, closed soon after the execution of a search warrant, according to the district attorney’s office. There is a sister restaurant across town on York Avenue, between East 84th and 85th streets.

The stolen money includes at least half of the sales tax that the two restaurant branches owed, as well as all of the sales tax owed by Nargila Grill’s catering service. Aroety was additionally found to have not paid the sales tax he owed for some of his Manhattan bagel bakeries.

Aroety could serve one year in jail should he fail to abide by a plea agreement that has him paying $60,000 in criminal fines and more than $500,000 in state and city sales and corporate taxes, accrued interest and penalties.

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