Grand Rapids Bar Owner Sentenced To 18 Months For Obstructing An Internal Revenue Service Audit
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN. – Michael Farah, 70, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Byerly Birge announced today. U.S.District Judge Paul A. Maloney imposed the sentence. In addition to the prison term, Farah was also ordered to serve a year of supervised release, pay a fine of $5,000, and pay restitution of $221,730.25.
Michael Farah and his son Brian skimmed cash from their Grand Rapids-area bars in 2013 and 2014, which they did not report on their business or individual tax returns. When they received notice of an Internal Revenue Service audit in August 2015, they tried to conceal their tax fraud by destroying all of their computerized point of sale records. They were caught when the company that maintained their business’s computerized sales records provided the Internal Revenue Service with recordings of the Farahs’ phone calls seeking assistance with the deletion of those records.
Judge Maloney said that Michael Farah “brazenly lied and destroyed records in an attempt to cover up his tax fraud.” The restitution amount, which Michael Farah has already paid, included $126,703.00 in federal taxes that he owed for the cash he skimmed from the bars in 2013 and 2014, plus $95,027.25 in penalties and interest. Michael Farah’s son Brian Farah was previously sentenced to 13 months in federal prison for his role in the crime.
“Michael Farah intentionally destroyed his records to avoid an IRS audit,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel. “This sentence should serve as a deterrent to those who might contemplate similar fraudulent actions.”
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Stiffler.