OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY
275 WALL STREET KINGSTON, NEW YORK 12401-3817 (845) 340-3280
Date: March 1, 2012 Re: Press Release on Sunoco Convictions Plea of Kanwarjit Singh
The Ulster County District Attorney¶s Office announces the convictions of Kanwarjit Sing, 39 of Wappingers Falls and Surrinder Kumar, 40, of Kingston, the former proprietor and night clerk, respectively, of the Sunoco Convenient Mart located at 675 Broadway in the City of Kingston. On February 22, 2012 Singh pled guilty in Ulster County Court to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree. Kumar was convicted, today, of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and Criminal Tax Fraud, Fifth Degree. These charges stemmed from a large-scale food stamp fraud scheme that was uncovered at the Sunoco store in 2010. Subsequent investigation into Mr. Singh¶s tax filings revealed significant understatements of his sales, earnings, and employee wages, which led to the tax fraud charge against him. As part of his plea, Singh will forfeit all monies previously seized by the District Attorney¶s Office from his bank accounts and located during the November 2010 raid of his store, and he will provide an additional $64,000 in restitution monies. In total, $325,000 will be returned to various governmental agencies, including $50,000.00 to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for unpaid taxes. In addition, Mr. Singh is expected to receive a state prison term when he is sentenced in June of this year. Kumar was sentenced to serve one year in the Ulster County Jail, and has been ordered to pay $4,796.00 in restitution. When he completes his sentence he will be deported to his
native country, India. Neither Singh nor Kumar have prior criminal histories. Of the 52 Sunoco customers who were arrested in connection with the food stamp fraud investigation, only four remain outstanding. Depending on the severity and degree of their fraud and whether they had a prior criminal history, sentences for the 52 people arrested in this investigation ranged from civil compromise to imprisonment in state prison. In each instance the individuals were disqualified from future benefits, some for life, which has saved tax payers an estimated $125,000.00. Each defendant has been ordered to pay restitution for the sums stolen. In addition to the criminal charges filed fifty individuals investigated were disqualified from benefits at a savings of $227,000.00 to taxpayers. The bulk of the restitution expected to be received, $320,000.00, will be recovered from the principal, Kanwarjit Singh. In addition there have been restitution orders exceeding $110,000.00. The restitution will be repaid to various government agencies as determined by New York State Law, CPLR section 1349(2). ³The break in the investigation came from work done by the Kingston Police Department,´ stated District Attorney Holley Carnright. ³Our office then coordinated efforts with the Ulster County Dept. of Social Services and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, as well as the Kingston Police Department.´ ³The breadth and scope of an investigation like this is generally not accomplished by relatively small departments such as the Kingston Police Department. A lot of credit for the success of this case goes to County Executive Michael Hein and the Ulster County Legislature. When this case first came to me, I explained to them that I needed help in this investigation. The County Executive proposed, and the Legislature approved, money for my office to hire an investigator who would be dedicated to this investigation. Former Department of Social Services Commissioner Rodriguez arranged 50% of the investigative salary to be paid by the State and, thus, for a relatively small investment, and with the cooperative efforts of these different agencies, we were able to proceed with a historically significant, successful, prosecution. More importantly, the entire process was 2
accomplished without investigation.´
District Attorney Holley Carnright again wishes to thank all of the governmental partners involved in supporting these prosecutions for their hard work and invaluable assistance, including the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Kingston Police Department, Ulster County Department of Social Services, New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. The lead prosecutor on these cases was Assistant District Attorney Joshua Povill.