3 in N.O. indicted  on tax fraud counts

The U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted three men Tuesday and accused them of illegally skimming cash from their French Quarter souvenir businesses by filing false tax returns, the office said.

Ibrahim A. Maqbool, of Gretna; Sayed Sajid, of Houston; and Abdul Hafeez, of Harvey, were charged with one count each of conspiracy to defraud the United States, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said in a news release.

Maqbool, Sajid and Hafeez owned multiple French Quarter souvenir and T-shirt shops that operated under various names, including Bourbon Boutique, All That Jazz, Nawlin’s Blues and Zydecajun, Letten said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Maqbool, Sajid and Hafeez conspired together and with others to skim cash from their various businesses by not reporting cash receipts on their federal income tax returns, Letten said.

All three filed at least one false federal corporate income tax return, Letten said.

If convicted, Maqbool, Sajid and Hafeez each face a maximum five-year prison sentence, $250,000 fine or both, Letten said.

The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case, Letten said.