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April 28, 2009


(HOUSTON) – Pedro Villalpando of Houston, one of eight local Taqueria Arandas Restaurant owners convicted last year of filing false federal income tax returns, has been sentenced to prison, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. 

United States District Judge Lee Rosenthal sentenced Villalpando to serve a year and a day in prison for filing a false income tax returns for two local Taqueria Arandas restaurants.  Villalpando owned and operated Taqueria Arandas restaurants located at 1826 North Gessner and 364 Uvalde Road in Houston, Texas. In a plea agreement executed on Dec.19, 2008, Villalpando admitted to filing eleven false federal income tax returns for these restaurants for tax years 2000 through 2006 and underpaying income taxes by $945,707. He also admitted that he underpaid employment taxes by $354,792.

The Internal Revenue Service recovered almost $2 million from safes found in Villalpando’s residence during the execution of a search warrant in June 2007. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Villalpando surrendered all but about $70,000 of these funds to the Internal Service as restitution for unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. Villalpando was also ordered to serve a year under court supervision upon his release from prison.

Villalpando is one of eight local Taqueria Arandas restaurant owners who have entered pleas of guilty to false tax return charges filed in early September 2008. He is the second to be sentenced. To date, these eight defendants have paid the Internal Revenue Service approximately $3.9 million in delinquent taxes, penalties and interest and all remain subject to audit and further assessment of taxes, penalties and interest.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jimmy Sledge, Jr. The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by special agents of the Houston Office of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.



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