Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 6, 2019

Austin Man Sentenced to Prison in Tax Fraud Scheme

Restaurant Owners Skimmed Gross Receipts and Deducted Personal Expenses

Two Austin, Texas, residents were sentenced today for criminal offenses arising out of a seven-year scheme to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. 

United States District Court Judge Xavier Rodriguez sentenced Michael Herman to 21 months in prison, and Cynthia Herman to five years of probation. On May 20, 2019, an Austin jury convicted Michael Herman and Cynthia Herman (the “Hermans”) of conspiring to defraud the United States by impeding and impairing the IRS and filing false 2010 and 2011 individual income tax returns. Michael Herman was also convicted of filing false 2010 through 2012 corporate income tax returns.

According to evidence introduced at trial and witness testimony, the Hermans owned and operated: Cindy’s Gone Hog Wild, a restaurant and bar in Travis County, Texas, and two restaurants in Bastrop County, Texas, Cindy’s Downtown and Hasler Brothers Steakhouse. The Hermans skimmed cash from the restaurants by depositing only a portion of the cash receipts into their business bank accounts and reporting only those limited deposits on the corporate and individual income tax returns. The Hermans also paid for personal expenses out of the business accounts, including repair of their swimming pool, utilities for their home and the salary of a household employee. As a result, the personal returns filed by the Hermans falsely underreported income and businesses’ corporate returns and falsely deducted personal expenses as business expenses.

Judge Rodriguez also ordered the defendants to pay $157,719 in restitution, and Michael Herman to serve three years of supervised release.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman thanked agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Robert A. Kemins and David Zisserson, who prosecuted the case. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas (Austin Division) for their substantial assistance.

Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Tax
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
19-946
Updated September 6, 2019