Aiken store manager charged after attempt to evade paying thousands in state sales tax discovered

May 3, 2019

A local convenience store manager in Aiken was arrested Thursday after the South Carolina Department of Revenue charged him with committing tax fraud in an attempt to evade paying over $60,000 of sales taxes to the state.

Hemang D. Bhavsar, 36, of Aiken, is charged with three counts of willful attempt to evade taxes he owes to the state, according to jail records.

If he is convicted of these charges, he faces fines up to $10,000 and a possible prison sentence up to five years for each charge.

Bhavsar is the manager of Huntsman and Price Shell convenience stores in Aiken.

SCDOR agents reported an investigation began after some discrepancies were discovered during an examination of reported sales tax for the stores managed by Bhavsar.

Over three years, records show Bhavasar underreported sales for Priku LLC, which is the company through which Bhavasar’s convenience stores were managed, according to a release provided by SCDOR.

Investigators believe he underreported the sales by more than $800,000, allowing him to evade a total $65,603 in sales tax, according to arrest warrants.

From 2015-2017, Bhavsar’s tax records for the state showed him reporting sales of $1,814,910, but, upon a close examination of his state taxes, SCDOR agents reported the numbers he reported weren’t adding up. Officials were able to determine the amount of total sales for Bhavsar’s stores were, in reality, much higher – coming to $2,636,426, the report states.

He was charged Thursday morning after SCDOR agents arrested him and took him to the Aiken County detention center, where he will be held pending a bond hearing.

For more information about state taxes in South Carolina, visit the SCDOR’s website at dor.sc.gov/tax/sales.