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South Carolina convenience store owner, employees arrested for tax fraud

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A South Carolina convenience store owner and two employees have been arrested by agents from the South Carolina Department of Revenue on more than 27 tax-related charges.

Jagdishbhai B. Patel, 56, of Florence, is the owner and operator of Shell-Lugoff in Kershaw County; Florence Quickstop, Sav-Way 24 and Sav-Way 28, all in Florence County; and Bennettsville Quickstop in Marlboro County, according to a news release. He is charged with 14 counts of tax evasion and two counts of conspiracy to evade the payment of sales tax.

According to the arrest warrants, between 2018 and 2020, Patel underreported sales by $2,053,006 and evaded $164,240 in sales tax.

Shailesh Kumar B. Patel, 49, of Bennettsville, was the manager of the Bennettsville Quickstop in Marlboro County. According to arrest warrants, he is charged with three counts of assisting in a false or fraudulent tax return and one count of conspiring with the store's owner to evade sales tax. The warrants allege he assisted in evading $38,320 in Sales Tax by underreporting at least $478,991.

Rakeshkumar G. Patel, 42, of Florence, was the manager of the Shell Lugoff, the Florence Quickstop, and the Sav-Way 24 in Florence County. According to arrest warrants, he is charged with six counts of assisting in a false or fraudulent tax return, and one count of conspiracy. The warrants allege he assisted in evading $52,069 in sales tax by underreporting sales of at least $650,883.

If convicted, Jagdishbhai Patel faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000 for each count of tax evasion and five years in prison and/or a fine of $5,000 for each count of conspiracy. Shailesh Patel and Rakeshkumar Patel each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a $500 fine for each count of assisting in a false return, and five years in prison and/or a fine of $5,000 for each count of conspiracy.

Jagdishbhai Patel and Shailesh Patel are being held in the Marlboro County Detention Center pending a bond hearing. Jagdishbhai Patel was arrested earlier this week in Kershaw and Florence counties. Rakeshkumar Patel was arrested earlier this week in Kershaw and Florence counties.

If you suspect or know of anyone or a business that has committed a state tax crime, such as tax evasion or tax fraud, contact SCDOR Criminal Investigation and submit a Tax Violation Complaint Form to FraudAdvisor@dor.sc.gov or mail it to South Carolina Department of Revenue, Attn: Fraud Advisor, 2070 Northbrook Blvd., Suite B7, North Charleston, S.C., 29406.

 

Reach Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.

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