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Scores Scam Scored $3mil

NY- Three executives stripped $3.1 million from the notorious strip club Scores, funneling the dough into dummy companies and cheating the government out of taxes, prosecutors said.

Scores CEO Richard Goldring, manager Harvey Osher [pictured] and bookkeeper Cheryl Osher were arrested for playing hanky-panky with the X-rated playpens’ profits, said Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

He said the financial shenanigans may have gone unnoticed had a half-dozen patrons not complained of being wildly overcharged at Scores’ East Side and West Side lap-dance lounges.

“The investigators found a massive tax-evasion scheme by managers and owners of the nightclub,” said Morgenthau, describing the schemes as “simple and corrupt.”

Prosecutors said Goldring, 36, and Harvey Osher, 38, used “dummy companies” between 2001 and 2003 to dodge taxes on $3.1 million in profits they split.

Morgenthau said Goldring and Osher dramatically lowered their tax bills by writing off bogus consulting fees paid to the shell companies they set up.

He said Osher’s niece, Cheryl, 25, of Brooklyn, was in on the scam, acting as president of one of her uncle’s phony consulting businesses and signing off on cooked-up tax returns.

“Not one was a legitimate business deduction,” said Assistant District Attorney Daniel Castleman.

Bruce Kato, assistant deputy commissioner for the state Department of Taxation and Finance, estimated the amount of taxes due on their profits was about $200,000, excluding federal taxes.

Instead of paying his taxes, prosecutors claim Goldring used some of the money to renovate his Watchung, N.J., house and buy jewelry.

Harvey Osher of Matewan, N.J., allegedly blew his ill-gotten gains on luxury cars and to finance a failed currency-trading business. He also allegedly used some of the money to pay for his kids’ private school tuition.

The 16-count indictment includes charges of filing false business records and tax returns. The suspects face one to four years in prison, if convicted, and up to $400,000 in fines.

Morgenthau said the investigation into overbilling of customers was ongoing, but conceded “there are not a lot of willing victims who want to cooperate.”

“They are not eager to come back from St. Louis or wherever,” said Morganthau, apparently referring to Robert McCormick, the former chief executive officer of St. Louis-based Savvis Communications.

The married father of three girls was dubbed “The Lap Dunce” after it was revealed he ran up a $241,000 tab at Scores in October 2003 and then stiffed American Express on the bill. McCormick, who eventually lost his job, claimed he only spent $20,000 at the club and the rest of his bill was bogus.

The Oshers and Goldring pleaded not guilty to the tax-evasion charges. Goldring and Cheryl Osher were released on their own recognizance, while Harvey Osher, who is on parole on a 2001 money-laundering rap, was freed on $10,000 bail.

Harvey Osher’s attorney, George Weinbaum, said his client “relied on the advice of accounting professionals” and did nothing intentionally wrong.

Goldring’s attorney, Edward McDonald, added, “We are optimistic there will be a resolution by next Thursday.”

As he left Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday, Goldring boasted the charges will have “no impact” on Scores’ ability to stay open for business.

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