Station owner accused of failing to pay nearly $1 million in gas sales tax

A 32-year-old man who owns gas stations on the West Side and in south suburban 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.

Samer T. 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 in Chicago; and Valero Gas, 1812 E. Sibley. in 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.”

In January, a law took effect establishing stronger penalties and eliminating 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.