Plainfield cigar store owner sentenced for sales tax fraud

A southwest suburban cigar store owner pleaded guilty to tax fraud Monday for not reporting more than $4.2 million in sales over nearly five years.  

Jamal Hussein, 46, of Plainfield, who failed to file a state sales tax return for Burning Leaf Cigars from January 2011 to September 2015, was sentenced to 2½ years in prison and ordered to pay $465,000 in restitution by a Will County judge.

The scheme went up in smoke in 2015, when Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan brought charges against Hussein for defrauding the state.

"Individuals who operate businesses in Illinois are required to pay sales taxes, and this case clearly demonstrates that there are consequences for business owners who illegally shirk their tax obligations," Madigan said in a news release.

Burning Leaf Cigars operates retail locations in Plainfield, Aurora and Geneva, according to the state.

The investigation was conducted by the Illinois Department of Revenue's Criminal Investigations Division.

Neither Hussein nor an attorney representing him could be reached for comment.