(STL.News) – U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Cleveland has returned a four-count indictment charging Yaser Najjar, age 58, of Westlake with attempt to evade and defeat income tax.
According to the indictment, from 2009 to 2017, the defendant allegedly owned and operated a gas station on East 152nd Street in Cleveland. During this time, the defendant allegedly maintained a handwritten ledger documenting the gas station’s daily gross receipts, gasoline and convenience store sales and used an accountant to prepare his taxes for the calendar years 2009 through 2016. The indictment states that in connection with the preparation of these taxes, and as part of a scheme to evade income taxes due and owing, the defendant materially misrepresented and concealed a substantial portion of the gas station’s gross receipts to his accountant.
The defendant is accused of providing the accountant with the markup (profit) per gallon of gasoline and convenience store sales, which figures substantially underreported actual gross receipts as reflected in the handwritten ledger. It is alleged that the defendant did not provide the accountant with certain information related to actual gasoline and convenience store sales and concealed other sources of income, including ATM fees, vacuum machine receipts, air machine receipts, and car wash receipts.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan R. Miller.