Texas Restaurant Owners Convicted of Tax Fraud
Underreported Gross Receipts and Deducted Personal Expenses
A Texas couple was convicted yesterday of conspiracy and tax charges by a federal jury in Austin, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
Michael Herman and his wife, Cynthia Herman were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and of filing false individual income tax returns for tax years 2010 and 2011. The jury also convicted Michael Herman of filing false 2010 through 2012 corporate income tax returns.
According to the evidence introduced at trial, the Hermans owned and operated three establishments: 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 restaurants’ cash receipts into their business bank accounts and reported only those deposits on the corporate and individual income tax returns. The evidence at trial showed that the Hermans failed to deposit approximately $570,000 in cash receipts into their business bank accounts. The Hermans also paid for personal expenses out of the business accounts, including repair of their personal swimming pool, utilities for their home, and the salary of a household employee. Michael Herman signed and filed the false 2010 through 2012 income tax returns filed on behalf of Cindy’s Gone Hog Wild Inc.
U.S. District Court Judge Xavier Rodriguez has not set a sentencing date. The Hermans each face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and three years in prison on each of the false tax return charges. They also face a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.
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 are prosecuting the case. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas for their substantial assistance.
Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.