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Anaheim Hills Man Held on Tax Charges

<i> From Times wire services</i>

An Anaheim Hills man already indicted on charges of mixing toxic waste with gasoline for sale at his 200 gas stations was arrested again for allegedly failing to pay $23 million in state taxes, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Gary Lazar, 45, was taken into custody Monday in Buena Park and held on $20-million bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Los Angeles Municipal Court.

Being sought in the investigation is his wife, Divine Grace Lazar, 39.

The Lazars own gas stations under the corporate names of California Target Enterprises, Alameda Management Co. Inc., Pronto Marketing Co., P and M Service Stations and Challenge Marketing.

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Prosecutors allege that the two withheld more than $13 million in motor vehicle fuel taxes and $10 million in sales taxes, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles district attorney’s office.

The Lazars also face a Los Angeles County grand jury indictment accusing them of mixing toxic waste into gasoline to increase the volume of sales at their gas stations, filing false results for underground storage tank tests and the disposal of hazardous wastes.

Reports reviewed by prosecutors indicated there was severe contamination beneath the Lazar service stations, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Anthony G. Patchett.

An analysis of some of the gas sold at the stations determined that “substantial amounts” of substances were added, including alcohol, kerosene, solvent, water and material normally destined to be dumped as waste material, he said.

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Gary Lazar was free on $1 million bail in that case, while Divine Grace Lazar had posted a $500,000 bond.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Divine Grace Lazar, and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office is asking the public’s help in finding her. She is 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Two others charged in the tax-evasion case, Neil Baizer, 56, of Los Angeles and Mario Rene Solares, 43, of La Mirada, pleaded innocent last week and were freed on $100,000 bail each. A preliminary hearing for the two was scheduled for Thursday.

Baizer and Solares, both accountants, are accused of conspiracy to file false state tax returns. Solares is charged with filing false cigarette tax reports.

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Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Divine Grace Lazar is asked to call Patchett at (213) 974-6814, district attorney investigator Kana Thompson at (213) 974-6813 or the district attorney command post, staffed 24 hours a day, at (213) 974-3607.


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