Restaurant owner Sergio Mucino of Buffalo pleaded guilty to tax evasion and conspiracy to unlawfully employ more than ten illegal immigrants. The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant owned and operated multiple restaurants in the Western New York area, including: Don Tequila, located at 73 Allen Street, Buffalo; El Agave located at 3870 Union Road, Cheektowaga, NY; Agave, located at 765 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo; and La Divina, located at 2896 Delaware Avenue, Kenmore, NY.
For the tax years 2013, 2014, and 2015, Mucino owed substantial federal income tax as a result of income generated at the his restaurants through his employment of illegal aliens. However, the defendant concealed cash payments, failed to collect payroll taxes, paid employees with cash, and placed assets in the names of others, to evade payment of income taxes totaling $1,006,161.
The plea also requires Mucino to forfeit nearly $40,000 in cash that was seized from his restaurants, a 2009 Porsche Boxster that the defendant purchased with his illegal profits, and another $1,000,000 representing additional profits made from operating the restaurants against the laws of the United States. Previously, another $35,000 in cash was forfeited by managers of Mucino’s restaurants and the two houses, which housed some of the illegal workers.
The investigation of this crime was completed by ICE, the IRS, and the NYS Department of taxation and finance.