• Published

The owner of Gui’s Lumber has been charged with failing to pay about $589,000 in sales tax.

Gail Villani, 63, of Grand Island, was arraigned on three felony charges Wednesday in Town of Niagara Court, the state Department of Taxation and Finance announced Thursday.

Villani is accused of collecting sales tax from customers, but failing to remit them to the state.

The charges cover the period from 2005 through 2009, and the store’s locations in the Town of Niagara, Clarence, North Collins, Springville and Batavia were part of the investigation, officials said.

Villani, who was released on bail after being arraigned before Town Justice John P. Teixeira, was charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal tax fraud and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.

She is due back on court on Oct. 16. If convicted, Villani faces up to 15 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the Department of Taxation and Finance’s criminal investigations division.

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