News and Press Releases

restaurant owner, manager sentenced for tax fraud conspiracy

September 22, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that the owner of several Mexican restaurants and the manager of a Warrensburg, Mo., restaurant have been sentenced in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy to file false tax returns.

Ismael Onate, 47, of Clarksville, Tenn., and Javier Posada, 44, of Warrensburg, both of whom are naturalized U.S. citizens from Mexico, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs. Onate was sentenced on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, to three years and one month in federal prison without parole. Posada was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison without parole.

The court also ordered Onate and Posada to pay $382,296 in restitution to the IRS.

Onate was the president of four Missouri corporations that operated El Vaquero Mexican Restaurant businesses in Warrensburg, Mexico, Hannibal, Kirksville, Moberly and Wentzville. Onate pleaded guilty on May 18, 2011, to participating in a conspiracy to under-report income received at the restaurants in order to avoid paying federal taxes. Posada, manager of the Warrensburg restaurant, pleaded guilty on April 28, 2011, to his role in the conspiracy, which lasted from June 2002 to August 2008.

Conspirators removed cash from the cash register or directed others to remove cash from the cash register, and the restaurants failed to report the receipt of that cash for tax purposes. They also created fraudulent sales ledgers and destroyed guest tickets.

Co-defendant Miguel Angel Vega, 36, of Mexico, Mo., a resident alien and citizen of Mexico, was manager of the El Vaquero Mexican Restaurant in Mexico, Mo. Vega pleaded guilty on July 26, 2011, to his role in the conspiracy and awaits sentencing.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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