Chicago Gas Station Owner Sentenced in Sales Tax Fraud Case

taxfraudA suburban Chicago gas station owner was sentenced to a two-year prison term for underreporting Illinois sales taxes by nearly $1 million.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Department of Revenue announced that it was one of the largest gasoline sales tax fraud cases since the state started cracking down on gas station owners three years ago, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.

At that time, more than one in 10 Illinois gas stations were suspected of cheating the state. Since then, the state has recovered more than $82 million in underreported sales taxes, the report said.

Samer Farhan, 33, of Palos Hills, Ill., pleaded guilty in Cook County Circuit Court to filing false tax returns and mail fraud, both Class 3 felonies. In addition to two years in prison, he was ordered to pay $975,862 in underreported sales taxes.

The attorney general’s office said that Farhan underreported sales taxes at a Citgo gas station in Chicago and a Valero gas station in Calumet City, and that he tried to conceal the underreporting of nearly $200,000 through a money-laundering scheme with a bank in Jordan.

A law that took effect last January created the crime of sales tax evasion and imposed higher graduated penalties based on the amount of sales tax evaded.

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