December 21, 2006
Meredith Baumann
(617) 727-2543

BOSTON - A Great Barrington man has been arraigned on charges he failed to file corporate tax returns and filed returns containing false information, Attorney General Tom Reilly and Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) Commissioner announced today.

Rafiq Budhwani, 38, of Great Barrington was arraigned today. His two businesses, Sonu Mart Inc. in Great Barrington and Springmart Inc. in Springfield are scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on January 12, 2007.

Mr. Budhwani is charged with two counts of willfully making and subscribing false tax returns under penalties of perjury, three counts of failure to file sales tax returns, and two counts of failure to file corporate excise tax returns. Sonu Mart Inc. is charged with one count of filing false sales tax returns, two counts of failure to file sales tax returns, and one count of failure to file corporate excise tax returns. Springmart Inc. is charged with one count of filing false sales tax returns, one count of failure to file sales tax returns, and one count of failure to file corporate excise tax returns.

Mr. Budhwani is a corporate officer of both Sonu Mart, Inc. and Springmart, Inc., which operate gas stations. The DOR began investigating both of the businesses after each allegedly failed to file sales tax returns. The DOR obtained records from the suppliers of both businesses in order to determine the amount of taxable sales of each business. The investigation revealed that both businesses were allegedly in operation during the years in question and had sold substantial amounts of taxable items, including cigarettes, for which they were responsible for collecting sales tax. The DOR investigation also determined that Budhwani had allegedly signed several tax returns in which both corporations substantially understated their taxable sales. In total, the DOR determined that Sonu Mart Inc. owed additional sales tax in the amount of $48,197.74 and Springmart Inc. in the amount of $30,174.66.

Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Assistant Attorney General David Waterfall of AG Reilly's Criminal Bureau is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by Thomas Nowicki, an investigator at the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Department of Revenue.