Attention all restaurant owners: when it comes to paying those pesky taxes and reporting income, don't even try to pull any shenanigans, because the IRS will track you down. Case in point: the owner of Barsac Brasserie in Hollywood was sentenced to 24 months in prison—federal prison!—after pleading guilty to tax evasion and all kinds of restaurant payment trickery:
In his plea agreement, [James] Saliba admitted that he failed to report all of Barsac’s business receipts to the IRS for the years 2001 through 2005. To do this, Saliba underreported the gross sales of Barsac
... he overstated expenses by writing corporate checks from Barsac to his wife, Lisa Long, and then deducting these payments as expenses on the returns for the restaurant.Furthermore, this Saliba fellow also exaggerated the restaurant’s expenses by writing checks to “Cash,” and then expensing the payments as tips. Um, yeah, that's not allowed, although it's probably a safe bet that there are restaurateurs out there who are probably running similar schemes.
Barsac Brasserie closed two weeks ago, but if there's a silver lining in this story, it's that Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani is taking over the space. And everyone loves Fabio.
· Owner of North Hollywood Restaurant Sentenced to Federal Prison [Lawfuel]