Henry Kissinger, Frank Sinatra and Mary Tyler Moore are among celebrities who bought jewelry but did not pay sales taxes in a tax evasion scam run by an exclusive 5th Avenue store, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.
The sources said none of the celebrities, who included billionaire Saudi Arabian arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, would be charged in the tax evasion scam. A spokesman for the state attorney general’s office said legal responsibility lies with the store.
State authorities charged in an indictment returned last year that customers of Bulgari jewelers in the posh Hotel Pierre avoided paying sales tax by pretending to have their jewelry mailed or delivered to them at addresses outside New York.
Empty Boxes Mailed
The customers would leave the store with their purchases and employees would then mail empty boxes or packages containing inexpensive costume jewelry to the out-of-state address, authorities said.
Two store officials, Nicola Bulgari and Richard Storm, were named in an Oct. 10, 1985, indictment in the so-called empty-box scam. They were to appear Friday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
They have been charged with 202 counts of falsifying business records and 11 counts of offering a false instrument for filing for allegedly not paying sales tax on $1.5 million in purchases between December, 1980, and March, 1983.
Kissinger reportedly made two purchases for $20,000, did not pay sales tax, and had empty boxes mailed to Washington, authorities said. His lawyer, Arthur Liman, said his client did not pay taxes, but said it was the store’s fault because Bulgari did not charge him for sales tax.
Sinatra bought $30,000 in jewelry, Moore about $20,000, real estate mogul Donald Trump about $65,000 and Khashoggi about $200,000, authorities said.
David Fishlow, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, would neither confirm nor deny the names of the celebrities involved.