Food buffet owners charged in sales tax investigation

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The owners of an Indiana chain of Chinese and American food buffets face charges of theft and being a corrupt business influence, the Marion County prosecutor announced Thursday.

Terry Curry said in a news conference that the charges arose from the owners’ alleged failure to collect and remit tax payments to the state, underreporting more than $8 million in sales from seven Teppanyaki Grill & Supreme Buffet and similarly branded restaurants from 2014 to 2016. The prosecutor said the owners collectively owe nearly $675,000 in sales tax and food and beverage tax to the state.

Evidence uncovered in the course of the investigation allegedly demonstrated that the owners engaged in cash skimming to conceal and underreport cash sales.

In October 2014, the grand jury division of the prosecutor’s office and the Indiana Department of Revenue began an investigation into the business practices of the seven restaurants in Allen, Grant, Hendricks, Marion, Tippecanoe and Vigo counties. It is alleged each restaurant employed nearly identical business practices.

The cases have been assigned to Marion County Criminal Court 2. Initial hearing dates have not yet been scheduled.

Here are the people charged in the investigation, their connections to the business and their charges:

  • Shuai Li, owner of Teppanyaki Grill & Supreme Buffet, 9701 E. Washington St., Indianapolis: corrupt business Influence, two counts of theft and two counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust.
  • Chunhua Wang, owner of Teppanyaki Grill & Super Buffet, 2641 Maple Point Drive, Lafayette: corrupt business influence, two counts of theft and two counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust.
  • Guo Wu Wu, owner of Teppanyaki Supreme Buffet, 285 E. Colliseum Blvd., Fort Wayne: corrupt business influence, two counts of theft and two counts failure to remit taxes held in trust.
  • Jin Qui Zhao, owner of Teppanyaki Buffet, 1310 W. 38th St., Marion: corrupt business influence, two counts of theft and two counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust.
  • Ji Rong Lin, owner of Hokkaido Japanese Buffet, 380 S. U.S. 41, Terre Haute: corrupt business influence, two counts of theft and two counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust.
  • Guang Feng Li, owner of China King Feng, 2535 E. Main St., Suite 108, Plainfield, and Teppanyaki Grill Supreme Buffet, 9701 E. Washington St. Indianapolis: corrupt business influence, four counts of theft and four counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust.
  • Sheng Yi Li, owner of Teppanyaki West, 5390 W. 38th St., Indianapolis: corrupt business influence, three counts of theft and three counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust.

The Marion County prosecutor, Curry, said in a news release, “We committed to re-establishing the ability of our office to investigate and prosecute complex white collar crime.”

Through a separate civil forfeiture action, $40,185.68 in previously seized assets has been collected for forfeiture to local law enforcement agencies.

© 2019 Circle City Broadcasting I, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

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