Tax Fraud Investigation Nets $75 Million To-Date
|The Illinois Department of Revenue and the Illinois Attorney General, in an ongoing joint criminal investigation, have recovered nearly $75 million in unpaid sales tax from gas station owners alleged to be involved in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the State. The investigation began in August of 2010. Most recently, two Chicago area accountants, Naveed Ahmed and his brother Asif Waheed, entered guilty pleas to wire fraud, mail fraud and to preparing fraudulent Illinois sales tax returns on behalf of 8 gas station owners. The brothers conspired with gas station owners in Chicago, Cicero, Homewood and Joliet to underreport their gasoline sales in order to lower their state sales tax bill from December 2007 through February 2009. The pair were arrested and indicted in 2011.
The brothers were sentenced to two years of felony probation under the condition that that they continue to cooperate with authorities in the ongoing investigations and prosecutions of gas stations and other clients that underreported sales to the state.
The crackdown on the fraudulent gas stations by the Department of Revenue and the AG’s office, was the reason for legislation sponsored by the Attorney General’s Office last session to create the new crime of Sales Tax Evasion which imposes new graduated felony penalties based on the dollar amount of sales tax evaded.