The cousin of “Mob Wives” star Big Ang has been busted on tax fraud charges, accused of stiffing the state out of $100,000 in sales tax owed by the reality show personality’s Staten Island bar, the Drunken Monkey.
SallyAnn Lombardi, 57, Angela "Big Ang" Raiola’s cousin was arrested Tuesday on felony grand larceny and criminal tax fraud charges.
She’s accused of collecting sales tax at the Forest Ave. bar in West Brighton, but never sending that money to the state. She never filed any tax returns between 2009 and 2015, when the bar was open for business under her ownership, according to a criminal complaint.
The state shuttered the Drunken Monkey in 2015, after learning that Raiola, a convicted felon, was a silent owner. Raiola pleaded guilty in 2003 in a federal drug-dealing case, and state law prohibited her from owning a bar without getting special permission from the state.
Still, a State Liquor Authority probe found she was listed as a signatory an a bank account connected to the bar, and received power of attorney over the Drunken Monkey after Lombardi got into a car crash in 2009, the Staten Island Advance reported in 2015.
The state’s investigation came a year after a 46-year-old man took a fatal punch to the head while breaking up a fight outside the bar.
Raiola died in February after a battle with cancer.
Lombardi told the Daily News Tuesday that she’s been in dire financial shape since the car crash, and the bar didn’t start making money until Raiola became a TV star.
“She was my best friend, my first cousin and my partner. It’s horrible. She’s not even gone a year, and she’s turning over in her grave, believe me,” Lombardi said of the arrest.
Raiola took over the bills after she became famous, Lombardi said.
“I don’t know what to say. I’m devastated. This was also supposed to be settled,” Lombardi said.
“Her husband was supposed to make a deal with the tax department and pay everything up to date. But then her cancer got the best of her... and that was the main priority.”
Lombardi was arraigned Tuesday and released on her own recognizance, said Ryan Lavis, a spokesman for District Attorney Michael McMahon.
Last year, the bar re-opened under a new name, the Funkey Monkey, with a new owner.