Tax Evasion Conviction for skimming cash
Thai and Japanese restaurant owner Opas Sinprasong (51-years old) was sentenced to 1-year and 1 day (that enables a prison stay instead of county jail) in Denver, CO for tax evasion. Moreover, Mr. Sinprasong was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine and $754,975 in restitution.
But wait! It gets worse, this man’s life –as he knew it– is over. Additionally, Sinprasong was ordered to forfeit $766,000 and two residential properties in Boulder. Then, as part of his plea agreement, following his prison term, Sinprasong, a Thai national, will be deported.
Reading through the court documents, Sinprasong was in the United States on an E2 Non-Immigrant Principal Investor status Visa and was operating Thai and Japanese restaurants. Specifically, Sinprasong operated “Sumida’s” and “Siamese Plate,” Thai and Japanese restaurants in Boulder, and “Siamese Plate on the Go,” which has locations in Boulder, Louisville and Broomfield, CO. Apparently, from 2001 through 2008, Sinprasong sponsored numerous Thai nationals to the United States under the classification of “specialty workers” for his restaurants. Sinprason claimed (and anyone would make a similar case for this as well) that these workers possessed specialized skills that were essential to the efficient operation of his Thai and Japanese restaurant businesses.
But unlike some business sponsors, Sinprasong made it a requirement that all his Thai employees had to enter into a 2-year employment contract. The terms the contract included clauses that required employees pay to Sinprasong a “bond” of about $1,500; a payment of $3,000 for a “visa preparation fee,” and a payment of about $18,000 would be due if the employee violated any terms of the contract or caused any damage to Sinprasong. Each employee also had to have a personal guarantor in Thailand, who agreed to be financially liable to Sinprasong for the penalty if the employee violated a term of the contract.
Sinprasong’s labor practices were compared to slavery.
Apparently Sinprasong was paying some portion of wages to employees “under-the-table” while deducting from their paychecks the payments for the $3,000 “visa preparation fee” and “bond” fees. His labor practices were compared to slavery by prosecutors. On average it took employees 3 – 4 months to pay off these fees, at which point Sinprasong then helped the Thai employees obtain Social Security numbers. Once the Thai employees had their social Security numbers, Sinprasong then started to report a portion of these employee’s wages on the legitimate payroll of the restaurants. Court documents proved that Sinprasong had two sets of books however, the legitimate account and his black books.
Sinprasong had a system where he hid the employees’ overtime hours which he demanded his Thai employees to work, which averaged a sizable 26 to 32 hours of overtime every week. It looks as if he paid the overtime hours at the illegal straight time rate and in cash —totally off the books. So in addition to failing to pay time and a half as required by federal law, he also filed fraudulent employer’s quarterly federal tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The prosecutors claimed that Sinprasong, by failing to report all of the wages paid to the Thai employees, evaded paying the employer’s portion of the Social Security and Medicare taxes due and owing on the unreported wages.
Are you anxious about something the IRS might uncover?
If you got involved in something by accident or on purpose that might be considered tax fraud, tax evasion, or money laundering, it might be wise to seek confidential legal counsel from a tax attorney. A taxpayers’ attempt to right a wrong will often rectify the worst of circumstances with the best possible outcome when compared to those who wait until an investigation uncovers wrongdoing. By waiting to be “found out,” you are more likely to be charged with a crime and face serious consequences. Call tax lawyer Paul Staley to schedule a no cost, confidential meeting at (619) 235-4095.