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DOR's Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) is credited with a big assist from the Attorney General's Office in yesterday's announcement of a guilty plea in an Attleboro cigarette sales tax case.

Vinitaben Patel, 31, of Carver, plead guilty yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court to the charge of Aiding and Assisting in the Preparation of False and Fraudulent Sales Tax Returns (2 counts). She was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $39,000 fine to the Commonwealth. In addition, she must comply with DOR's assessment of tax liability, penalties, and interest, all of which may exceed $500,000 after DOR does its final calculations, which will include looking at her tax filings dating back to 2004.

The CIU discovered, investigated and referred the matter to the AG's Office, which handles criminal prosecutions for all Commonwealth agencies.

The CIU's Christine Slingerland and Thomas Nowicki were cited for their work in the investigation by the AG's Office. Patel operated the South Side Restaurant and Variety, a convenience store in Attleboro. Amongst other things, Patel underreported taxable sales by more than $2.1 million, and underpaid sales tax due the Commonwealth by $109,000.

In a statement, AG Martha Coakley said that "business owners who do not pay their taxes are depriving the state of much needed revenue and gain an unfair advantage over other businesses that do follow the law." She said the legal action taken in this case "holds the business and its owner accountable for knowingly breaking the law."

DOR Commissioner Navjeet K. Bal said "DOR's investigators Slingerland and Nowicki deserve credit for doing the investigative work that brought this to the AG's Office, as well as the field auditors who first uncovered this case."


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