2 Crystal Lake gas station operators charged with defrauding state more than $450,000 in sales taxes

Two operators of Crystal Lake gas stations have been charged with defrauding the state of Illinois of more than $450,000 in sales taxes, according to a news release from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

Fifty-year-old Kantibhai Patel of Des Plaines operated Goga Petroleum, 415 W. Virginia St. His brother-in-law, 46-year-old Dineshkumar Patel of Hanover Park, ran Gayatri Petroleum, 339 W. Virginia St., according to the release.

In August 2015, Attorney General Lisa Madigan charged the men for under-reporting gasoline sales between January 2008 and April 2011.

“These defendants intentionally defrauded the state out of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Madigan said in a statement. “Our ongoing investigations and enforcement efforts have uncovered egregious cases of fraud against the taxpayers of Illinois.”

Kantibhai Patel was taken into custody Thursday after pleading guilty to charges of filing a fraudulent sales tax return, according to the release. He was sentenced to one year in the Illinois Department of Corrections and must pay $401,000 in restitution.

Dineshkumar Patel pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor charges of failing to keep books and records, and was ordered to pay about $57,000, according to the release.

These cases were part of a joint operation between Madigan’s Special Prosecution Bureau and the Illinois Department of Revenue to crack down on gas station operators who evade sales tax payments to the state.

Since the operation began in 2010, $110 million has been recovered on behalf of the state, according to the release.

“By successfully investigating and prosecuting gas station tax fraud, we ensure those businesses that play by the rules are not operating at a competitive disadvantage,” Revenue Director Connie Beard said in the release. “I commend the hard work of Revenue’s Criminal Investigations Division and the Attorney General’s Office in this ongoing joint operation.”