For Immediate Release - January 28, 2010

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Announces the Arraignment of a Springfield Woman in Connection with Allegedly Not Paying Over $16,000 in Taxes

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announces that a Springfield business owner was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court in connection with failing to report the taxable sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Nuzhat Aziz, age 47, was charged with Making or Subscribing False Massachusetts Tax Returns (5 counts).

According to authorities, Aziz owned and operated Wheelers Convenience Store (Wheelers) in Springfield from 2003 through 2007. According to authorities, from January 2004 through January 2006, Aziz filed nine sales and use tax returns for Wheelers on a quarterly basis. From February 2006 through July 2007, Aziz filed 18 sales and use tax returns for Wheelers on a monthly basis.

According to authorities, an investigation by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) determined that from 2003 through 2007, Wheelers' purchases of taxable goods exceeded the taxable sales reported on Wheelers sales tax returns. The discrepancies were primarily caused by Wheelers' failure to account for its taxable sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Under Massachusetts law, sales of cigarettes for retail must be reported as taxable sales and vendors are required to accurately report taxable sales on sales tax returns. Authorities allege that from January 2004 through June 2007, Aziz willfully underreported the taxable sales of Wheelers by more than $333,000 and underpaid sales tax due to the Commonwealth by $16,690.

Aziz was arraigned yesterday in Boston Municipal Court at which time she entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Aziz is due back in court on February 23, 2010, for a pre-trial conference. Boston Municipal Court Judge Thomas Horgan presided over the arraignment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael Pine of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Corruption and Fraud Division with assistance from investigator Christine Slingerland of DOR's Criminal Investigations Unit.

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