BAY MINETTE, Ala., Aug. 16, 2017 – Convenience store owner Krimesh Patel, 40, pleaded guilty on July 24 to one felony count of failure to collect, account for and pay over sales tax to the State of Alabama. Patel was indicted by a Baldwin County grand jury in November 2016 for multiple felonies arising out of his operation of a convenience store.
Patel owned and operated Big County Food Store at 25931 County Road 32 in Elberta since April 2013. As the primary store owner, he failed to properly report and pay over to the state, Baldwin County and the City of Elberta all sales tax collected from customers that shopped at the store.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, the court ordered Patel to pay $139,778 in restitution for the tax evaded, fraud penalties and interest. Patel also faces five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
“We are using new data analytics and investigative methods to focus on taxpayers and industries engaged in consistent criminal noncompliance with Alabama’s tax laws,” said Revenue Commissioner Vernon Barnett. “Convenience stores are one of the areas we are focusing our attention due to the frequency of tax evasion within that business community. While this case demonstrates progress, we understand it is only one step toward reassuring law abiding taxpayers that they are not at a disadvantage to their non-compliant competitors who flout the tax laws. We will continue our efforts to stamp out tax evasion and look forward to making more such announcements in the months to come.”