Texas Restaurant Owners Indicted for Tax Fraud
Allegedly Underreported Gross Receipts and Deducted Personal Expenses
An indictment charging the owners of several Austin, Texas area restaurants with federal tax crimes was unsealed today, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
The indictment charges Michael Herman and his wife, Cynthia Herman, with conspiring to defraud the United States by impairing the legitimate functions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and filing false individual income tax returns for tax years 2010 through 2012. Michael Herman is also charged with filing false corporate tax returns for 2010 through 2012.
According to the indictment, the Hermans owned Cindy’s Gone Hog Wild, a restaurant and bar in Travis County, Texas, which filed corporate tax returns, and two restaurants in Bastrop County, Texas, Cindy’s Downtown and Hasler Brothers Steakhouse, which reported their income and expenses on the Hermans’ personal tax returns. The indictment alleges that the Hermans deposited only a portion of the restaurants’ cash receipts into their business bank accounts and reported only those deposits to their tax return preparer. The Hermans also allegedly 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. The indictment charges that the Hermans filed false tax returns that underreported their income and falsely deducted personal expenses paid out of the corporate account as business expenses.
If convicted, the Hermans face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and three years in prison on each of the false return charges. They also face a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg thanked agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Robert A. Kemins and David Zisserson, who are prosecuting the case. Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg 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.