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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Michigan Restaurant and Strip Club Owner Sentenced to Two Years n Prison for Tax Crimes

Defrauded IRS of More than $1.7 Million

A Walled Lake, Michigan, business owner was sentenced today to two years in prison, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to court statements and filings, Johni Semma owned Bayside Sports Bar & Grill (Bayside) and The Coliseum, an adult entertainment business. As the owner of Bayside, Semma was responsible for collecting and paying to the IRS Bayside’s employment taxes. From the first quarter of 2008 through the first quarter of 2015, however, Semma timely filed only two employment tax returns with the IRS, despite being obligated to file 29 such returns during this period. He also did not pay approximately $1.3 million in employment taxes that were due.

In 2012, Semma sold The Coliseum for approximately $5.9 million, but did not file an individual income tax return or pay taxes for that year. As a result he caused an additional tax loss of approximately $463,000 to the IRS.

Semma previously pleaded guilty on Aug. 28, 2019, to one count of employment tax fraud and one count of failure to file his individual income tax return.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Court Judge Paul D. Borman ordered Semma to pay $1,793,771 in restitution to the IRS.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Kenneth Vert and Brittney Campbell, who prosecuted the case. 

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

Press Release Number: 
Updated January 5, 2021