WNY restaurant owner pleads guilty to tax evasion and employing illegal immigrants

Local News

The former owner of four Mexican restaurants in Western New York has pleaded guilty to tax evasion and conspiracy to unlawfully employing illegal aliens, according to the U.S. Attorney of Western New York.

A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Sergio Ramses Mucino formerly owned and operated Don Tequila, El Agave, Agave, and La Divina restaurants. 

Mucino evaded paying more than a million dollars in income taxes from 2013 to 2015, according to the statement. 

The office said Mucino evaded these payments by concealing cash payments, failing to collect payroll taxes, paying employees with cash, and placing assets in the names of others. 

Between 2014 and 2016, Mucino, along with previously-convicted co-defendants Jose Sanchez-Ocampo and Marguin Sanchez, conspired to hire at least 10 illegal immigrants to work at the restaurants. 

During that same amount of time, officials say illegal workers lived in nine apartments and two houses near the restaurants.

The apartments were being rented and paid for by Mucino and Sanchez-Ocampo, according to prosecutors.

Mucino’s charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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