Accountant accused of theft from bar owners Block establishments had the Pikesville resident handle their tax payments

September 24, 1996|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

An accountant who handled tax payments for most of the bar owners on The Block was charged yesterday with theft and tax evasion for allegedly stealing more than $200,000 from his clients, the attorney general's office said.

Leslie Pototsky, 62, of the 2300 block of Sugarcone Road in Pikesville was charged in a criminal information filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court with systematically taking money his clients entrusted to him for tax payments and instead depositing the money in his bank account.

Pototsky is alleged to have stolen $232,180.97 from January 1991 until November 1995, the information said.

He was charged with tax fraud because money allegedly was not reported on his tax return.

Telephone messages left at Pototsky's home were not returned last night.

Pototsky has agreed to plead guilty at a hearing scheduled for Oct. 23 in Baltimore County Circuit Court, the attorney general's office said.

He faces a possible 10-year sentence.

The bars involved include the 408 Club, the Circus, the Villa Nova and the Oasis, the attorney general's office said.

The investigation arose from a controversial January 1994 state police raid on The Block, which involved 500 troopers who hit 23 bars after a four-month investigation into drug use and prostitution among dancers, employees and patrons.

The raid resulted in 87 arrests, but nearly half of the cases were dismissed by prosecutors because of weak evidence or police misconduct that included illicit liaisons between undercover officers and women from the bars and lavish spending for bar tabs.

All the misdemeanor drug cases were dropped or shelved by prosecutors, and nearly a third of the felony cases were dismissed.

Two weeks ago, the attorney general's office netted its first tax convictions stemming from the raid when Paul Battaglia, 48, and Mahala Battaglia, 27, former owners of the Harem nightclub, pleaded guilty to failing to report $230,000 they skimmed from their business.

During the Block raid, state police seized the financial records from several bars.

The state police and the Criminal Investigations Division of the attorney general's office had been examining the records as part of their continuing investigation into the Block.

Pototsky came to the attention of investigators who noticed that the financial records indicated that most of the bar owners used him as their accountant to do their taxes.

After further review of records, investigators realized that money was being stolen from Pototsky's clients.

Pub Date: 9/24/96

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