Palm Desert business owner forced to pay restitution for tax related crimes

Business owner pleads guilty to misappropriation of funds and preparing false records

PALM DESERT, Calif. - A man who operated two Palm Desert jewelry businesses is under orders to pay more than $184,000 in restitution for tax-related crimes, court documents obtained Wednesday show.

   Atulkumar Bhogilal Mehta, 58, of Walnut was also sentenced to three years probation and 120 days in custody on July 10 after pleading guilty to one felony count each of misappropriation of funds, offering false evidence and preparing false records.

   Mehta, who ran El Paseo Jewelry Exchange and El Paseo Jewelry Inc., understated taxable sales at the businesses and owed more than $212,000 to the state Board of Equalization. He also filed fraudulent sales tax returns, gave the BoE fake sales invoices and kept a false sales journal, according to a declaration prepared in support of a search warrant.

   He did so between January 2005 and December 2007, and January 2009 to March 2010, according to the declaration.

   A sales tax audit by the Board of Equalization determined that El Paseo Jewelry Exchange on El Paseo was ``understating taxable sales and providing false documents in an attempt to avoid the sales tax liability,'' the  declaration states. Search warrants subsequently served at Mehta's residences and businesses turned up more evidence of tax fraud, according to the document.

   The Riverside County District Attorney's Office filed criminal charges in April. In exchange for his plea,  four counts of misappropriation of funds and one count of offering false evidence were dismissed at sentencing, according to court records.

comments powered by Disqus

Photo Galleries

  • On this day: October 23
    IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation

    On this day: October 23

    The U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut are hit by a truck bomb, Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination is rejected, and the iPod is introduced, all on this day.

    Read More »
  • World's most empathetic countries
    Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

    World's most empathetic countries

    Michigan State University has put together a list of the most empathetic countries. Researchers interviewed more than 100,000 adults from 63 countries and found "higher empathy countries also have higher levels of collectivism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, self-esteem, emotionality, subjective well-being, and prosocial behavior." Find out the top 10 countries that made the list.

    Read More »
  • On this day: October 22
    Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

    On this day: October 22

    The first parachute jump takes place, "Pretty Boy" Floyd is gunned down, football meets television, and The Supremes top the charts, all on this day.

    Read More »
  • Everything you wanted to know about the Electoral College
    William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

    Everything you wanted to know about the Electoral College

    The person ahead in the popular vote might not actually win the presidency. Why? The Electoral College takes the final vote -- not us.

    Read More »
  • Best Clinton, Trump lines from Alfred E. Smith dinner

    Best Clinton, Trump lines from Alfred E. Smith dinner

      Less than a day after their heated final presidential debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton traded shots at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner. Here's a look at the most memorable lines from the event.

    Read More »