Owner of 'Obama Gas Station' in South Carolina faces tax evasion charges

The owner of a South Carolina gas station named in honor of former President Barack Obama was arrested and charged Tuesday with tax evasion.  

Murad A. Alhanik, 39, the owner of the Obama Store and gas station in Columbia, S.C., was charged with “four counts of sales tax evasion,” WISTV reported.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue said Alhanik filed $971,935 in sales tax returns in the period between 2013 and 2016, but after an investigation the agency found the store’s sales was $2.6 million, according to a press release.

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Alhanik dodged paying more than $136,000 in sales taxes during that four-year period, the department said.

Alhanik was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, arrest records show. He could face up to five years in prison and fines nearing $10,000.

obama gas station

Murad A. Alhanik renamed the gas station in Columbia, SC, to honor former President Barack Obama.  (Google Earth images)

The owner renamed the gas station to honor the 44th president during Obama’s first term. Alhanik told WISTV he saw more business after the name change.

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"I see more people come in," Alhanik said then. "Excited with the name."

In January 2017, Alhanik told the Post and Courier that he would never change the name of the store despite Obama not being president anymore because “it’s still history.”