New York man admits to robbing $19 million in motor fuel tax

A New York man today admitted to his role in a wire fraud conspiracy which defrauded the State of New Jersey of over $19 million in motor fuel tax, according to U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig.
Roman Sobolevsky, 61, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Between June 2019 and July 2020, Sobolevsky was the president of a Brooklyn-based motor fuel distribution company, identified in court documents as “Company-1.” Company-1 purchased motor fuel from a Texas-based motor fuel supplier (Fuel Supplier-1) at fuel terminals in Newark and Sewaren, New Jersey.

Sobolevsky and others devised a scheme to falsely represent to Fuel Supplier-1 that Company-1 was delivering fuel to gas stations in Delaware, when, in fact, Company-1 was delivering fuel to gas stations in New Jersey.

By doing so, Sobolevsky and Company-1 avoided paying New Jersey state fuel tax, which did not apply to fuel delivered outside of New Jersey.

After Company-1’s fuel trucks picked up the fuel from Fuel Supplier-1, Sobolevsky directed the drivers to deliver the fuel to gas stations in New Jersey and not Delaware.

The New Jersey gas station owners, knowing that Sobolevsky falsely represented to Fuel Supplier-1 that the fuel was being delivered to Delaware, purchased fuel from Sobolevsky and Company-1 at a lower price than other distributors.

As a result, Sobolevsky and avoided paying approximately $19 million in motor fuel taxes owed to the State of New Jersey.

The conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 14, 2021.

In 2013, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a program to suspend the driver’s license of deadbeat taxpayers.

Sobolevsky, who at the time owed $7.9 million in back taxes and was the Empire State’s second biggest scofflaw, was first to lose his driving privileges.

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