(Chicago) – An Illinois gas sales taxes fraud scheme involved laundering money to the Middle East.
The arrest of a Chicago area gas station owner on Thursday for allegedly defrauding the state of more than $975,000 in gasoline sales taxes revealed that Samer Farhan, 32, had laundered $200,000 to Amman, Jordan, says Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
The Farhan bust is the largest case of gas sales tax fraud the state has pursued yet, according to Madigan’s office.
Authorities arrested Farhan near his Palos Hills home after he was charged Thursday on 28 counts of filing fraudulent sales and use tax returns and two counts of mail fraud, Class 3 felonies, and five counts of money laundering, a Class 2 felony.
Madigan alleges that from May 2008 to April 2011, Farhan under-reported sales at his two gas stations: Citgo Gas, 2959 W. Fulton St., Chicago, and Valero Gas, 1812 E. Sibley Blvd., Calumet City.
The attorney general also alleges Farhan “schemed” to conceal the under-reported sales by “laundering more than $200,000” to an overseas bank account based in Amman, Jordan.
“This is the largest case of gas sales tax fraud that we have uncovered yet,” Madigan said.
The latest case is part of the ongoing operation now in its third year led by Madigan’s office and IDOR which has recovered nearly $75 million owed to the state from gas station owners who evade sales tax payments
“Criminal charges resulting from gasoline sales tax evasion continue to send the appropriate message to gas station owners who underpaid their taxes,” said Brian Hamer, director, Illinois Department of Revenue.
The crackdown on gas station owners has led to a new law, a Madigan initiative, that established stronger penalties, creating a new crime of Sales Tax Evasion and imposed graduated penalties based on the amount of sales taxes evaded.
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