Retailer re-enters the spotlight after skirting thousands in tax evasion
By Kate Northrop
SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) announced on Saturday that the store owner who sold the winning ticket for the $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot in 2018 has been arrested and charged with five counts of tax evasion.
Chirag Jayanti Patel, 49, was found to have underreported $2.04 million in sales while operating KCP, Inc. under the KC Mart convenience store business in Greenville County.
According to warrants, the offense was reportedly committed each year between 2013 through 2017, earning him five counts of tax evasion for evading a grand total of $123,044 in Sales Tax.
At the time of the win in 2018, the $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot was the second-largest jackpot the world had ever seen was and the largest amount ever awarded to a single player. The KC Mart on Lee Vaughn Road in Simpsonville sold the lone winning ticket to an anonymous woman visiting from out of town, who chose to collect her prize as a one-time lump sum payment of $877.78 million.
For selling the winning ticket, the store received a $50,000 bonus check from the South Carolina Lottery. While the world waited for the winner to step forward, Patel remarked that business picked up since the glare of international spotlight shone on his store.
The anonymous winner was represented by New York attorney Jason Kurland, who had been hired by other big jackpot winners to help manage their prizes. Last year, he was accused of robbing his clients of millions and was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering.
If Patel is convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and potentially up to $50,000 in fines, plus the cost of prosecution.
"The SCDOR is committed to the fair administration of tax laws," the SCDOR stated in a press release. "By taking enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers, the Department seeks to prevent unfairly increasing the tax burden on those who do comply."
Patel is currently being held in the Greenville County Detention Center pending a bond hearing, the SCDOR reports.