The manager and assistant manager of the posh 5th Avenue Cartier jewelry store were arrested today and charged with helping customers avoid taxes on purchases.
Cartier International Inc. was indicted along with the two store employees, manager S. Howard Warnock and his assistant, Thomas Foster, for helping customers evade more than $250,000 in sales taxes through the scheme, the attorney general's office announced.
The indictment charged that during a three-year period, the company, with the help of Warnock and Foster, allowed customers at the store to purchase jewels and give fake out-of-state addresses to avoid New York taxes.
The indictment alleged that the customers would leave the store with the jewels in hand and a "worthless trinket or an empty box would be shipped to the address," said David Fishlow, spokesman for state Atty. Gen. Robert Abrams. "Then the sale would be recorded as an interstate sale, which is tax exempt.
"They would say, 'Don't pay $825 in taxes on that bracelet--give me the address of your grandmother in Iowa,' " Fishlow said.
Warnock and Foster surrendered today and pleaded not guilty at their arraignment before state Supreme Court Justice Herbert Altman.
Warnock was released on a $50,000 unsecured personal recognizance bond and Foster was released on a similar $25,000 bond. A court appearance is scheduled for April 2.