Detroit Area Gas Station Owner and His Bookkeeper Sentenced to Prison for Tax Fraud
U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Duggan sentenced Elsayed Kazem “Tom” Safiedine to 21 months in prison and Mary Fawaz to 12 months and one day in prison for tax fraud, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. Safiedine and Fawaz were convicted by a Detroit jury of conspiring to defraud the United States by impeding and impairing the lawful functions of the IRS.
According to evidence at trial, Safiedine was an officer and member of multiple business entities that operated and leased gasoline stations in the Detroit area. Fawaz was an officer of JSC Corporation, a business operated by Safiendine, and also served as a bookkeeper and office manager for several of Safiedine’s businesses. The evidence established that from 1998 through 2001, Safiedine and Fawaz arranged for third parties to negotiate checks from Sunoco Incorporated made payable to JSC Corporation. The checks from Sunoco, which totaled $845,000, were not properly reported to the accountant for JSC Corporation and as a result, were not included as income on JSC’s corporate tax returns filed with the IRS.
Further evidence presented revealed that Safiedine and Fawaz participated in the sale of a gasoline station owned by one of Safiedine’s businesses, MTK & KLC Partnership, during which Safiedine and Fawaz advised the accountant for MTK & KLC that the gas station sold for $175,000 less than its actual sale price, thus resulting in an understatement of income on the MTK & KLC partnership income tax return.
Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, commended the IRS Special Agents who investigated this case and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Mark W. Kotila and Tiwana L. Wright, who prosecuted the case.