The owner of a Toms River architectural firm that once served the township school district and Ocean County College admitted to filling fraudulent tax returns for his business, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Tuesday.
Pravin H. Patel, 67, of Toms River, entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to charges that he falsely passed off hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses as business deductions. The charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, according to Fishman.
Patel is founder and president of Pravin H. Patel Associates, the firm that once served as the Toms River Regional School’s engineer, architect and planner. District officials said the firm was in place from 1993 through the last day of the fiscal year 2011, when a pool of seven engineers were contracted by the district. The district in 2013 approved the use of a single engineer, Maser Consulting.
"Among the personal expenses which Patel admitted to improperly using to reduce the tax liability owed by his company was $112,650 in payments for renovations on his personal residence in 2006," Fishman said in a statement.
"Patel also admitted that the corporate tax return for the year ending in March 2007 improperly included more than $8,200 in expenses related to a personal country club membership and associated fees, as well as numerous personal expenses paid through a corporate credit card. Patel admitted that the corporate tax return for the year ending in March 2007 included false deductions of more than $145,000 and that the tax loss over a four-year period for which he is criminally liable totaled $63,815."
Patel's Toms River home was surrounded by law enforcement in July 2011, though authorities then declined to comment on what they were doing there.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 4, 2013, according to Fishman.