03/05/2013 04:10 EST | Updated 05/05/2013 05:12 EDT

NY tailor who dressed star athletes pleads guilty to $2M tax fraud; faces prison, fines

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A tailor who counted star athletes including Rickey Henderson and Wilt Chamberlain among his clients has pleaded guilty to skirting about $2 million in sales and income taxes.

Mohanbhai Ramchandani pleaded guilty on Tuesday, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. His company, Mohan's Custom Tailors Inc., also has had local stars Patrick Ewing and Darryl Strawberry among its clients and made an appearance on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New York City."

Ramchandani and his business failed to pay at least $1.7 million in state and local sales taxes since 2002, Schneiderman said. The tailor failed to pay at least $256,000 in personal income taxes from 2007 to 2009, he said.

"There are no excuses for tax cheats, regardless of how prominent they are," Schneiderman said. "Mr. Ramchandani's conviction for orchestrating this multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud taxpayers sends a clear message that those who rip off the public will be held accountable for their crimes. Honest citizens are harmed by people who break the law to avoid paying their fair share, making it harder for New York state to provide essential services."

Authorities said a whistle-blower first raised concerns over Ramchandani's tax practices. They said one indication of fraud was the use of numbers on his tax forms that added up to multiples of 10, an outgrowth of his belief in numerology.

Ramchandani was born in Ahmadabad, India, and moved to the United States in 1972. He could face up to three years in prison at sentencing. He has agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle civil claims.

Ramchandani acknowledged making "several mistakes" regarding his taxes and said he took full responsibility for his actions.

"I apologize to my family, employees and customers for this mistake and will take all steps to rectify this matter," he said in a statement.