Peoria business owner sentenced to 36 months in prison

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria business owner was sentenced to 36 months in prison for tax offenses.

Alaa Iwaisi, a 30-year-old man from Peoria was sentenced on July 20, for “filing false personal tax returns, aiding in the filing of false federal corporate returns, and mail fraud for mailing false small business corporation tax returns to the State of Illinois for tax years 2015, 2016, and 2017,” according to a press release.

Iwaisi, who formerly owned MacArthur Corner Store Food & More in Peoria, plead guilty on March 3 to the nine-count indictment.

Judge Mihm found that Iwaisi paid employees and himself from money in the register, despite being advised by the return preparer to issue company paychecks.

The judge ordered that Iwaisi’s prison term be followed by one- and three-year terms of supervised release on the tax and mail fraud charges.

He also ordered Iwaisi to pay the unpaid taxes, amounting up to $108,125 to the Internal Revenue Service, and $86,105 to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Until July 18, Iwaisi was on bond, but ended up being detained pending a hearing on the issue.

After revoking Iwaisi’s bail, Mihm found that Iwaisi obstructed justice by hindering and dissipating assets.

Iwaisi used $5,000 as a down payment for a $62,000 Range Rover, sold a 2004 BMW for $4,500, transferred title of a recreational vehicle, sold a 2015 Range Rover for $35,000, and used assets to pay for inventory at his convenience store purchased by his ex-wife.

Iwaisi also falsely claimed that he had a monthly income of $10,000 from managing a liquor store, but had reported to U.S. Probation that he was unemployed and receiving unemployment compensation.

“Paying taxes is a civic duty that allows our society to thrive and for us to care for those who need it the most,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Douglas J. Quivey. “People who cheat the tax system will be held accountable to include serving prison time.”

Donald “Trey” Eakins, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office, said, “This sentence should serve as an example to those who might think about trying to cheat the US tax system by under-reporting income. You will serve jail time for stealing from hard-working Americans.”

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