Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

09/10/87 PEOPLE STATE MICHIGAN v. KASZAM SAFIEDINE

September 10, 1987

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
KASZAM SAFIEDINE, D/B/A K & M ENTERPRISES, INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



M. H. Wahls, P.j., and R. B. Burns and M. Warshawsky,* JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

Following a bench trial, defendant Kaszam Safiedine was convicted of seven counts of tax fraud, MCL 205.51 et seq.; MSA 7.521 et seq. and MCL 205.27; MSA 7.657(27). Defendant was sentenced to five years' probation with the first three and last eight months to be served in the Wayne County Jail. Defendant was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and restitution of $81,052.

Defendant, a retailer in gasoline sales, was charged with understating gasoline sales on monthly sales tax returns filed from April, 1982, through October, 1982, and thereby failing to pay the required taxes. The evidence presented at trial consisted primarily of documents pertaining to the amount of gasoline delivered to three retail gasoline service stations owned and operated by the defendant and the tax returns filed by the defendant for the months in question.

On appeal, defendant raises four claims of error. First, defendant argues that the trial court erred in failing to dismiss the case pursuant to MCL 205.3; MSA 7.657(3). The statute in question, MCL 205.3(a); MSA 7.657(3)(a), sets forth the powers and duties of the Commissioner of Revenue. The statute empowers the revenue commissioner and duly appointed agents to examine a taxpayer's books, records, and papers concerning tax matters. It provides for the issuance of subpoenas, including those for production of documents. It also provides:

A person shall not be excused from testifying or from producing any books, papers, records, or memoranda in any investigation, or upon any hearing when ordered to do so by the commissioner, upon the ground that the testimony or evidence, documentary or otherwise, may tend to incriminate or subject him or her to a criminal penalty, however, a person shall not be prosecuted or subjected to any criminal penalty for or on account of any transaction made or thing concerning which he or she may testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, before the board or its agent.

In People v Parsons, 142 Mich App 751; 371 NW2d 440 (1985), lv den 424 Mich 878 (1986), this Court held that, where a defendant had not been subpoenaed, never refused to testify, and never invoked his privilege against self-incrimination, he was not entitled to transactional immunity from prosecution under MCL 205.3(a); MSA 7.657(3)(a). In the instant case, as in Parsons, neither defendant nor his accountant was "ordered" to testify or to produce any records. Therefore, the trial court did not err in failing to dismiss the case pursuant to MCL 205.3(a); MSA 7.657(3)(a).

Defendant also contends that his conviction was not supported by sufficient evidence because the prosecution failed to establish that it was the defendant who received the gasoline in question and filed the tax returns and that defendant intended to defraud the State of Michigan. We disagree.

Evidence is sufficient to sustain a defendant's conviction if, when viewed in a light most favorable to the prosecution, it would enable a rational trier of fact to conclude that the essential elements of the crime were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. People v Petrella, 424 Mich 221, 268-270; 380 NW2d 11 (1985).

In the instant case, defendant's name appeared as the signature on the tax returns in question. The identity of names was sufficient to raise the presumption of identity of person. See Goodell v Hibbard, 32 Mich 47, 55-56 (1875). Cf. 26 USC 6064; United States v Cashio, 420 F2d 1132, 1135 (CA 5, 1969), cert den 397 U.S. 1007; 90 S Ct 1234; 25 L Ed 2d 420 (1970). Further, there was evidence indicating that defendant's signature appeared on a guarantee given to Royal Gas and Oil Company, one of defendant's suppliers; thus, the trier of fact was free to compare the signatures appearing on the tax returns with the signature of the defendant and to determine that defendant had submitted the tax returns. MRE 901; Cashio, supra. There was also sufficient evidence of defendant's intent to defraud the State of Michigan or to evade the payment of some portion of the sales tax. The evidence presented showed a large understatement of reported sales for the months in question. A taxpayer's intent to evade taxes may be inferred from all the facts and circumstances surrounding the attempted understatement of taxes, including a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.