Resident pleads guilty to tax charges

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

Metamora resident Lakhvir Nijher pled guilty to filing a false corporate income tax return and mail fraud that resulted in failure to pay an estimated $1 million in federal and state tax revenue.  

Nijher operated the Heights BP at 4430 N. Prospect Road and Nijher Mart in Washington. Nijher waived indictment and pled guilty to an information charging him with one count each of filing a false corporate tax return and mail fraud.  

According to court documents, Nijher provided accountants with false information that directly led to the filing of false income tax returns for the businesses.  Nijher operated the Heights BP at 4430 N. Prospect Road and Nijher Mart in Washington. Nijher waived indictment and pled guilty to an information charging him with one count each of filing a false corporate tax return and mail fraud.  

Nijher maintained handwritten ledgers of the daily sales figures for the three businesses and repeatedly submitted to the accountant figures that under-reported true sales.

As a result, the three businesses’ gross receipts were under-reported on their respective returns by approximately $4.8 million for the years 2008, 2009, and 2010.  Further, Nijher provided accountants with false information used to prepare Illinois Sales and Use Tax Returns.

Court documents stated that investigation by the Illinois Department of Revenue established that Nijher filed false monthly State Use Tax returns that substantially under-reported sales at the gas stations.  Dating back to 2005, Nijher failed to report approximately $6.3 million in sales, resulting in a tax loss to the state of Illinois of approximately $490,000.

In January 2009, court documents said that Nijher filed an Offer in Compromise with the IRS in an attempt to stop collection of a personal tax liability of approximately $174,000 for the 1998 and 1999 tax years. That offer was later amended to limit the request to the 1999 tax year. In the offer, Nijher falsely represented that he had insufficient assets and income to pay the full amount, representing that he worked as a cashier at the Peoria Heights station and earned gross monthly wages of $1,000, prosecutors said. But prosecutors said Nijher owned the station and had substantially higher monthly income. Based on the under-reported income from the various business and personal tax returns, the total federal tax loss is approximately $581,855.  

He is currently on bond awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled on April 18, 2013. Nijher could face up to three years in prison for the tax charges. For mail fraud, the maximum  penalty is as much as 20 years in prison.  

Both offenses carry fines of up to $250,000.

-From the U.S. Attorney’s office