NEW YORK -- A New York convenience-store retailer has confessed to stealing more than $1 million in sales tax collected for gasoline sales.
Kulbir Singh, who owns Dashmesh Petroleum Inc., Gobind Petroleum Inc. and Karam Mart Inc., operated three gasoline stations in Nassau County. They include a station in West Hempstead owned by Gobind Petroleum, one in Valley Stream owned by Dashmesh Petroleum and one in Elmont, N.Y., owned by Karam Mart Inc. His son, Ladpreet Singh, operated a fourth station, Karam Mart.
According to an investigation led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the gas stations collected but failed to remit to the state more than $1 million in sales taxes from September 2011 through December 2014.
Kulbir Singh pleaded guilty to three counts of grand larceny in the third degree. He must pay $150,000 in restitution and sign a confession of judgment for the remaining $850,000 of the $1 million in stolen taxes. He will also be sentenced to a prison term of 1.3 to four years.
The defendant corporations—Dashmesh Petroleum, Gobind Petroleum and Karam Mart—pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny in the second degree and were fined $50,000 each. And Ladpreet Singh pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to probation.
Kulbir Singh’s businesses had previously been convicted of failing to pay sales tax, according to the attorney general's office. In 2012, he admitted to stealing more than $500,000 in sales taxes collected by four of his gas stations. At the time, the corporations pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud and agreed to pay more than $1 million in restitution, interest and penalties. But they only paid $500,000. As the Department of Taxation and Finance was investigating the failure to pay the rest of the restitution, it discovered that Singh was continuing to steal sales tax proceeds from his gasoline stations.
“This was a case of blatant theft from New York state and its taxpayers,” said Nonie Manion, acting commissioner of taxation and finance. “Despite a previous felony conviction for the same crime, the defendant continued to steal money that should have been used to fund vital public services. We will continue to work with all levels of law enforcement, including the attorney general’s office, to ensure that these crimes don’t go unpunished.”