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RESTAURANT OWNER SENTENCED FOR TAX EVASION Defendant Failed to Pay Withheld Employee Taxes and Penalties

October 31, 2008

WILLIAM ROBERTSON, 67, of Everett, Washington who owned and controlled various restaurants operating under the Hot Rod Café name, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to eight months of home confinement, three years of supervised release and $491,902 in restitution for Evasion of Payment of Tax. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard Jones said he was not imposing prison time because of ROBERTSON’s poor physical health. “You started a restaurant business and got into a tight squeeze and rather that dealing with it, tried to cover it up,” Judge Jones said.

ROBERTSON was the owner of HRC Enterprises, Inc. which operated restaurants called the Hot Rod Café in Mountlake Terrace, and Mukilteo, Washington. In June 2008, ROBERTSON pleaded guilty to Evasion of Payment of Taxes, for failing to pay the trust fund portion of employment taxes and withheld employee income taxes. Between 1992 and 1996, ROBERTSON operated the various restaurants and was responsible for the tax payments. ROBERTSON failed to make the payments totaling more than $491,000. ROBERTSON tried to evade payment of these taxes by hiding his ownership of two corporations: Seabill Inc. and SMB Enterprises Inc., by filing false income tax returns, and by making false claims to IRS agents.

Due to ROBERTSON’s poor health, prosecutors recommended a one year prison term, saying such a sentence would deter others. ROBERTSON “...showed utter disregard for the tax laws. It appears that his business model evolved to simply not take into account tax liabilities of any kind. It is important for the sentence to reflect the seriousness of the defendant’s egregious behavior and to promote respect for the tax laws that depend so heavily on accurate self-reporting by taxpayers,” Assistant United States Attorney Mark Parrent wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Parrent.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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