The former owner of a Middletown convenience store was sentenced Wednesday to 10 months in prison for trying to obstruct federal tax laws, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Asafak B. Bhura, 51, of Manchester also was ordered to pay a $30,000 fine, Tom Carson said. The jail sentence is to be followed by one year of supervised release.
He was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Hartford; he pleaded guilty to attempting to interfere with the administration of Internal Revenue laws on May 10.
Bhura owned Nafisa LLC and later BAB Enterprise LLC, a Main Street convenience store. The company has since been dissolved, according to state records.
According to information from court, from March to June of 2012, Bhura accepted and cashed 126 tax refund checks totaling $787,187.17. He did not properly identify the individuals for whom the checks were cashed, and he deposited the money into his personal bank accounts rather than the store’s business accounts.
The federal tax refund checks turned out to have been fraudulently obtained through the filing of tax returns that had stolen personal information, the court records show.
In addition, Bhura received a 5 percent fee for cashing the 126 checks, adding up to $39,359. The store never was licensed by the state to cash checks for a fee greater than 50 cents per check, court documents show.
He has since paid restitution in that amount to the Internal Revenue Service, Carson said.
Bhura, who was released from custody on $50,000 bail, is ordered to report to prison on Dec. 27.