Homewood gas station, accountants hit for failing to pay sales taxes
BY BOB OKON Sun-Times Media January 29, 2013 5:56PM
Updated: January 29, 2013 6:39PM
Two accountants have pleaded guilty to fraud in a case in which $5.1 million in state sales taxes went unpaid at 12 gas stations, including one in Homewood.
The accountants conspired with gas station owners to underreport gasoline sales from December 2007 through February 2009, the Illinois attorney general’s office said.
The Homewood gas station at 17500 Dixie Highway at the time was owned by MJM Business Enterprises Inc., according to the plea agreement entered Friday in Cook County Circuit Court.
Two brothers, Naveed Ahmed of Arlington Heights and Asif Waheed of Chicago, pleaded guilty to conspiring as accountants with eight gas station owners. In the scheme, the station owners under-reported gas sales and evaded paying $5.1 million in state taxes, according to a news release from the attorney general.
The case is the latest in a crackdown that has recovered nearly $75 million in unpaid state sales taxes from gas stations since August 2010.
“We will continue to hold dishonest business owners accountable for illegally profiting at the expense of their customers and the state,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a written statement.
The investigation into gas station fraud is being conducted jointly by the attorney general and Illinois Department of Revenue.
The gas station owners had previously repaid the state the $5.1 million and pleaded guilty to other charges. They also cooperated with authorities in the prosecution of the two accountants, the attorney general’s office said.
Ahmed and Waheed were sentenced to two years of felony probation on the condition that they cooperate in the continued investigation into under-reported sales at Illinois gas stations.
Ahmed is the owner of Midwest Financial Services, which has offices in Chicago and Arlington Heights. The firm has been in business since the 1990s and was known among gas station owners for assisting clients in lowering the amount of sales taxes owed to the state, the attorney general’s office said.