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WASHINGTON – Zewditu Wondemu, 62, who owned Zed’s Restaurant, a business in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to a federal tax charge for under-reporting gross receipts and income and overstating expenses on tax returns.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
Wondemu pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of filing a false tax return. The Honorable Beryl A. Howell scheduled sentencing for Aug. 1, 2014. The charge carries a statutory maximum of three years in prison and financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Wondemu faces a likely range of 10 to 16 months in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. As part of her plea, she must pay $50,350 in restitution to the United States government, representing the taxes still owed.
According to the government’s evidence, Wondemu owned and operated Zed’s Restaurant at the time of the offenses. She admitted understating gross receipts on corporate income tax returns for the tax years 2005 through 2008. At the same time, she overstated business expenses. Additionally, she admitted understating her income on individual income tax returns for the tax years 2005 through 2008. As a result of her actions, the tax losses to the government for those years totaled at least $50,350. Wondemu has since sold the restaurant.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Special Agent in Charge Kelly commended the work of those who investigated the case for IRS-CI. In addition, they expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by Trial Attorney Erin Pulice of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division and Associate Director Jeffrey Olson of the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Donna Galindo, Criminal Investigator Stephen Cohen, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip A. Selden, of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section, who is prosecuting the matter.14-109