PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Three men face decades in prison and possibly tens of thousands of dollars in fines or restitution for failing to pay the state of Illinois millions of dollars in sales tax.
The three men, Roger Multani, Jitender Singh, and Surinder Singh, all face charges of theft of governmental funds, sales tax evasion, and wire fraud. All are free on bond pending their Oct. 26 arraignment in the courtroom of Peoria County Circuit Judge John Vespa.
The charges were handed up by a Peoria County grand jury on Tuesday but instead of local prosecutors handling the case, it’ll be members of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. That’s not uncommon in these types of cases.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a news release Multani and Jitender Singh were also charged in Sangamon County Circuit Court with similar counts relating to gas stations in southern Illinois. In all, the men were linked to 17 gas stations and allegedly underreported $50 million in sales from 2019 to mid-2022.
As such, they had an unpaid “tax liability” of about $4 million
“Individuals who underreport sales taxes are stealing from the state and from the residents in their communities who rely on the important programs and services stolen tax revenues are intended to fund,” Raoul said.
According to Illinois state records and the Better Business Bureau, the three men are linked to several gas stations that are under the Shell Oil brand. Among the addresses listed are on West Main Street, Detweiller Road, Allen Road, and Sterling and Knoxville avenues, but there are several other corporations that are listed but without addresses.
The charges allege some 50 counts against the three men.
Surinder Singh faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of all seven of the charges he’s facing. Some carry lesser prison terms and probation is also a possibility for him.
The other two men, however, face several nonprobationable charges that carry a mandatory prison of six to 30 years. Some of their charges carry lesser sentences as well.
Jitender Singh and Multani’s arraignment in Sangamon County is on Nov. 2
It appears, from state records, the Singhs list addresses from Danville, Peoria, and Indianapolis, Ind. among other places. Multani has addresses in both Peoria and Danville, according to a state database. There are at least 12 corporations on the Illinois Secretary of State’s website linked to the three men.
Eight of the gas stations are from Peoria. The other nine are from Salem, Wayne City, Xenia, Pickneyville, and Metropolis among other places.
As the charges are sparse in detail, it’s hard to tell how much money is involved or how many times the men allegedly didn’t pay enough tax. Usually, when multiple counts are alleged in cases like this, it tends to indicate separate allegations.
Such cases have happened before in Peoria. In 2017, a man who owned four Peoria-based Marathon gas stations was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution.
Prior to that, two brothers pleaded guilty in federal court to tax crimes, regarding their ownership of a Fast Stop gas station.