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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Owners Of Ukiah Restaurants Charged With Tax Fraud

SAN FRANCISCO –Yaowapha Ritdet and Steve Walter were arraigned today in court on five counts of filing false tax returns. Yaowapha Ritdet was also arraigned on two counts of willfully failing to report a foreign bank account, announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez.

According to the Indictment, unsealed today, Ritdet and Walter were residents of Ukiah, Calif. and owners of Tuen Tong Thai Cuisine and Walter Café. For the tax years 2007 through 2011, Ritdet and Walter willfully signed Form 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns which they did not believe to be true and correct. The returns failed to disclose rental income, foreign bank accounts, and gross receipts or sales and income received from their business activities.

The Indictment also alleges that from 2009 through 2010, Ritdet maintained a passbook savings account at Kasikorn Bank, Public Company Limited, a bank organized under the laws of Thailand and operating in Thailand. In 2009 and 2010, Ritdet failed to file a Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR) disclosing her financial interest in the passbook savings account, which had a value of greater than $10,000 during the calendar years 2008 and 2009.

Ritdet, 53, and Walter, 52, both of Ukiah were indicted on April 15, 2014. They were arrested this morning and made their initial appearance before the Honorable Nandor J. Vadas in Eureka, United States Magistrate Court Judge. Ritdet and Walter’s next court appearance is on May 7, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. before the Honorable Jacqueline Scott Corley, United States Magistrate Court Judge in San Francisco.

The maximum penalty for each count of failure to file a FBAR, in violation of Title 31, U.S.C §§ 5314 and 5322(a) is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The maximum penalty for filing a false tax return, in in violation of Title 26, U.S.C § 7206(1) is three years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant US Attorney Thomas Moore is prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations and, as with all defendants, Yaowapha Ritdet and Steve Walter must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

(Ritdet and Walter indictment )



Updated November 18, 2014