May 18, 2010
TWO MORE TAQUERIA ARANDAS RESTAURANT OWNERS PLEAD GUILTY
(HOUSTON) – Luis Antonio Sanchez Sr. and Maria F. Argueta each entered pleas of guilty to filing of a false federal income tax return, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Sanchez owned and operated a Taqueria Arandas restaurant on the 2300 block of Garth Road in Baytown, Texas, during 2001 through 2006. In the plea agreement, Sanchez admitted he knowingly filed a false federal income tax return for that restaurant for the calendar year 2006 that understated sales by approximately $434,181 and income taxes due by about $117,030. He also admitted to filing false federal income tax returns for the restaurant for calendar years 2001 through 2005 that understated sales by $1,457,108 and underpaid income taxes by another $278,928.
Argueta owned and operated a Taqueria Arandas restaurant on the 6600 block of Highway 6 in Houston during 2000 through 2004. In the plea agreement, Argueta admitted she knowingly assisted in the filing of a false federal income tax return for that restaurant for the calendar year 2003 that understated sales by about $543,125 and income taxes due by about $52,126. Argueta further admitted she assisted in the filing of other tax returns for the restaurant for the years 2000 through 2004 that under-reported both sales information and wages paid to employees resulting in the underpayment of income and employment taxes by approximately $237,561.
As part of the plea agreement, both Sanchez and Argueta have agreed to make full restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and to remain subject to additional IRS assessments of taxes, interest and penalties due as result of these offenses.
United States District Court Judge Kenneth Hoyt set a sentencing date of Aug. 16, 2010, for Sanchez, while United States District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore set a sentencing date of Oct. 25, 2010, for Argueta. Each defendant faces up to three years imprisonment and a criminal fine of up to $250,000.
Sanchez and Argueta become the ninth and tenth Taqueria Arandas restaurant owners to plead guilty to filing a false income tax return. Eight others were charged in September 2008, have entered pleas of guilty and all but one have been sentenced. To date, the investigation has resulted in the collection of more than $4 million in delinquent taxes, penalties and interest.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jimmy Sledge Jr. The investigation leading to these charges is being conducted by special agents of the Houston Office of the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS.
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