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Palos Hills man charged with failing to pay nearly $1M in gas sales tax

Updated: April 4, 2013 6:40AM



A 32-year-old Palos Hills man who owns gas stations on Chicago’s West Side and in Calumet City failed to pay more than $975,000 in gasoline sales taxes, then concealed the fraud by laundering more than $200,000 to a bank in Jordan, authorities allege.

The attorney’s general’s office and Illinois Department of Revenue on Friday announced the arrest of Samer T. Farhan in what they say is the largest gasoline sales tax fraud case the state has pursued so far in an ongoing investigation of station owners who evade sales tax.

Farhan was arrested near his Palos Hills home after being charged Thursday with 28 counts of filing fraudulent sales and use tax returns; two counts of mail fraud, and five counts of money laundering, a release from the attorney general’s office said.

From May 2008 though April 2011, Farhan underreported sales at his two gas stations — Citgo Gas at 2959 W. Fulton St., Chicago; and Valero Gas, 1812 E. Sibley Blvd., Calumet City, the release said.

“This is the largest case of gas sales tax fraud that we have uncovered yet,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a statement. “This is an extremely significant result that will bolster our efforts to root out tax cheats who’ve scammed the state out of millions.”

A law that took effect in January established stronger penalties and eliminated barriers to prosecuting businesses and retailers that evade sales tax. It created the new crime of sales tax evasion and imposed graduated penalties based on the amount of sales, the release said.

Sun-Times Media Wire



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