MONTGOMERY – Lee Njoroge, 35, of Hoover, managed L & N Food Mart, Inc. in Bessemer. Njoroge pleaded guilty Tuesday in Montgomery County Circuit Court to routinely underreporting his convenience store’s gross sales in order to reduce the store’s tax bill.
Under state law, businesses must report and pay sales taxes to the Alabama Department of Revenue (ALDOR) on a monthly basis. An investigation by ALDOR revealed that Njoroge underreported L & N Food Mart’s sales—and reduced its tax bill—each month for a period of 18 months between November 2017 and May 2019. The investigation revealed that Njoroge underpaid the business’s sales tax by $44,569.56.
The Court imposed a reverse split sentence, with the defendant ordered to first serve a term of three years’ probation followed by two years’ imprisonment, which the Court has the discretion to suspend upon completion of probation. The defendant was also ordered to pay full restitution as well as interest and penalties in the amount of $28,867.45, for a total of $73,437.01.
“Failure to properly remit sales tax is not only a serious crime against the hard-working people it is collected from, but also one against the children of our state who lose funds vitally needed for their schools,” said Commissioner Vernon Barnett. “Alabama will not tolerate corrupt and dishonest business owners who look to line their pockets with taxpayer money.”
Assistant Attorney General Nathan Mays of the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division prosecuted this case based on an investigation done by the ALDOR’s Investigations Division.