Wednesday, August 1, 2007

BOSTON - Today, a Great Barrington man was sentenced in connection with failing to file corporate tax returns and for filing tax returns containing false information. Rafiq Budhwani, age 38, and his two businesses, Sonu Mart Inc. in Great Barrington and Springmart Inc.

in Springfield pleaded guilty to the charges. Budhwani was sentenced to probation and the corporations were ordered to pay fines.

Budhwani is a corporate officer of both Sonu Mart, Inc. and Springmart, Inc., which operate gas stations. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) began investigating both of the businesses after each 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 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 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. The DOR referred the matter to the Attorney General's Office for prosecution. On December 6, 2006, the three were indicted by a Suffolk County Grand Jury.

Budhwani pleaded guilty to Failure to File Sales Tax Returns (3 counts), and Failure to File Corporate Excise Tax Returns (2 counts). Sonu Mart Inc. pleaded guilty to Filing False Sales Tax Returns, Failure to File Sales Tax Returns (2 counts), and Failure to File Corporate Excise Tax Returns. Springmart Inc. pleaded guilty to Filing False Sales Tax Returns, Failure to File Sales Tax Returns, and Failure to File Corporate Excise Tax Returns. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frank Gaziano sentenced Budhwani to serve 3 years probation with the condition that he cooperate with the DOR to determine the tax liability of Springmart and Sonu Mart, and ordered that he pay the tax liability as determined by DOR. The judge also ordered Sonu Mart and Springmart each pay a $1,000 fine.

Today, they entered a change of plea and were sentenced before Judge Gaziano. This case was investigated by Thomas Nowicki, an investigator in the Criminal Investigations Unit of the DOR. The prosecutor assigned to this case was Assistant Attorney General David Waterfall.

Beth Stone/AGO - mailto:Beth.Stone@state.ma.us
Media Contact
617-727-2543

Robert Bliss - blissr@dor.state.ma.us
Director of Communications
(617) 626-2369