The man who renamed his gas station “Obama Mart” has been arrested in South Carolina and charged with tax evasion.
The state’s Department of Revenue says Murad Alhanik filed monthly sales tax returns from 2013 to 2016 alleging a total of $971,935 in gross sales.
However, an investigation revealed actual sales during that time to total $2,688,533.
“Due to the underreported sales, the defendant evaded paying $136,753 in sales taxes due to the state of South Carolina,” the department stated in a press release.
“The SCDOR is committed to the fair administration of tax laws. By taking enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers, the Department seeks to prevent unfairly increasing the tax burden on those who do comply.”
If convicted, Alhanik faces up to $10,000 and/or up to five years in prison for each of the four counts of tax evasion he’s been charged with.
Alhanik bought the station in Columbia in 2011 and rebranded it as “Obama Mart.”
The rebrand caused more customers to come, he told WIS at the time.
“I see more people come in,” Alhanik said. “Excited with the name.”
Josh Saleh was also named as an owner of the store by the Post and Courier.
Saleh, a native of Yemen, moved to the United States in 2004 and became a citizen in 2010.
He and Alhanik told the media outlet that they would never change the name to reflect the new president.
“We would never change it,” Alhanik said. “It’s still history.”
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