Baltimore Liquor Store Owner Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison For Evading Taxes

Understated Over $1.5 Million of Income Earned During Four Tax Years and Structured At Least $745,000 of Bank Deposits in Attempt to Evade Taxes

March 5, 2012

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Chung K. Choi, age 47, of Woodbine, Maryland, today to 18 months in prison, followed by six months of home detention as part of three years of supervised release, for tax evasion. Judge Bennett also ordered that Choi pay $533,208.77 in restitution to the IRS and $206,045.21 in restitution to the State of Maryland, which the Judge found was the total amount of taxes due as a result of Choi’s under-reporting.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III of the Baltimore Police Department.

“Corporations just like individuals are required to pay their fair share of taxes,” stated Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven of the IRS Criminal Investigation. “Understatement of taxable income and structuring deposits are striking examples of not paying your fair share. This sentence today assures the American public that IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to bringing violators of federal tax law to the table of justice.”

According to his plea agreement, Choi owns and operates Frankford Garden Liquors located at 5418 Sinclair Lane in Baltimore. The corporate tax returns that Choi filed for the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 understated the amount of the corporation’s taxable gross receipts by $1,572,162.

Additionally, from March 5, 2009 to December 16, 2010, Choi routinely deposited cash into his bank accounts in individual amounts under $10,000 in order to attempt to avoid triggering the requirement that the bank report to the IRS transactions of $10,000 or more. The total amount of structured deposits was at least $745,000.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the IRS-Criminal Investigation and Baltimore City Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Stefan D. Cassella, who prosecuted the case.

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