A Peoria area gas station owner from Metamora pleaded guilty Wednesday in Peoria federal court to filing a false corporate income tax return and mail fraud that resulted in failure to pay an estimated million dollars in federal and state tax revenue. According to court documents and a press release, Lakhvir Nijher, aka Tony Nijher of Metamora operated the Heights BP, previously Peoria Heights BP on North Prospect Road and Nijher Mart in Washington. During his court appearance, Nijher waived indictment and pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count each of filing a false corporate tax return and mail fraud. According to the press release, in January 2009, court documents note that Nijher filed an Offer in Compromise with the IRS in an attempt to stop collection of a personal tax liability of about $174,000 for the 1998 and 1999 tax years. That offer was amended to limit the request to the 1999 tax year. In the offer, Nijher falsely represented he had insufficient assets and income to pay the full amount, representing that he worked as a cashier at the Peoria Heights station while in fact, he owned the station and had substantially higher monthly income. Nijher will be sentenced April 18th.
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