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Prosecutors: Restaurant owners didn’t report $22.7 million

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Three Mexican restaurant chain owners in central Indiana have been charged with theft and will plead guilty to criminal charges.

The Marion County Prosecutor, Terry Curry, and Tippecanoe County Prosecutor, Pat Harrington, announced that three owners of a Central Indiana Mexican restaurant chain have been underreporting up to $22.7 million in sales.

The owners of El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant and El Jaripeo Mexican Restaurant chain, identified as Francisco Salgado, Jose Melendez and Abel Bustos have agreed to relinquish an initial amount of $4.53 million to Indiana authorities.

Investigation began in November 2013 and included reviews and audits of tremendous piles of financial records, according to prosecutors.

The prosecutors’ probable cause affidavit filed in the case states that after an analysis of the restaurants’ sales from 2010 to 2012, it was estimated that 25% of sales were not reported at all. Evidence in the investigation supports that the defendants concealed sales.

Salgado and Melendez will plead guilty on 10 counts of theft, while Bustos will plead guilty to two counts of theft.

Salgado, Melendez and Bustos’ initial hearing are set for Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. in Marion County Criminal Court 15.