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  1. #1
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    Chuy's owners charged with immigration, tax violations (update)

    Chuy's owners charged with immigration, tax violations

    Posted: Apr 20, 2011 12:58 PM


    TUCSON - The father and son owner's of the Chuy's chain and their accountant have been arrested and arraigned in federal court on tax and immigration violations.

    According to a release from the Department of Homeland Security, Mark Evenson, 58, and his son Christopher Evenson, 39, are owners of Chuy's Mesquite Broilers, a regional chain with restaurants in Arizona and California. They have been charged, along with the company's accountant, 47-year-old Diane Strehlow, with a variety of criminal violations, including: unlawful hiring and harboring of illegal aliens, conspiracy to defraud the IRS and tax evasion.

    "For nearly two years, these defendants are alleged to have knowingly dodged hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes in order to maintain an illegal workforce," said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. "That deceitful practice, which hurts all law-abiding tax payers and employers, must stop. There should be no place in our economy for employers who cynically exploit and defy the U.S. tax code to take advantage of illegal labor."

    According to the indictment, illegal workers were hired to work in the kitchens on the restaurants, while legal U.S. workers were hired as servers and other jobs. Allegedly, the company paid undocumented workers under the table while paying authorized workers through the normal payroll method.

    "Employment tax evasion undermines public confidence in our tax system and businesses that don't follow the rules have an unfair advantage over their competitors. Tax evasion is not a victimless crime and results in the loss of future Social Security or Medicare benefits for the employees and loss of tax revenue to the United States government," stated Dawn Mertz, special agent in charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.

    Court documents show that Mark Evenson allegedly directed employees not to run personal information for undocumented workers, telling them that the government would "kick it back" or would "come and pick them up."

    After receiving a complaint about undocumented workers at a restaurant in Lake Havasu City, he allegedly told an employee that "throwing some American people in there," would stop the complaints.

    The indictment further alleges that since at least 2008, the Evensons and Strehlow have been filing fraudulent tax forms, underreporting their taxes and failing to pay at least $400,000 in Federal Insurance Contribution Act (Social Security and Medicare) taxes.

    The three defendants will be arraigned in federal court in Tucson tomorrow. If convicted, the Evensons could each face over 80 years in prison and over $5 million in fines. Strehlow faces a maximum sentence of 40 years and a $2 million fine.

    http://www1.kvoa.com/news/chuy-s-owners ... iolations/
    Last edited by Jean; 04-11-2014 at 11:39 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mapwife's Avatar
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    Phoenix and California stores included

    Feds raid Tucson Chuy's restaurants in illegal hiring probe
    Brady McCombs, Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 11:56 am

    Federal agents arrested the father-son owners of Chuy's Mesquite Broiler restaurant chain on Wednesday for hiring illegal immigrants and paying them under the table.

    Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Internal Revenue Service agents were at the four Chuy's locations in Tucson Wednesday morning serving search warrants. Other agents were at Chuy's locations in Phoenix and California.

    The owners of Chuy's - Mark Evenson, 58, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., and his son, Christopher Evenson, 39, of Oro Valley - were arrested along with the company's accountant, Diane Strehlow, 47, of Tempe, according to a news release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    The trio is being charged with a variety of criminal violations, including unlawful hiring and harboring of illegal immigrants, conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, and tax evasion.

    If convicted, Mark Evenson could face up to 86 years in prison and a $5.3 million fine. His son, Christopher Evenson, could face up to 81 years in prison and a $5 million fine. The accountant, Strehlow, could face up to 40 years and a $2 million fine. The three will be arraigned in federal court in Tucson on Thursday, the release says.

    The Chuy's on East 22nd Street at South Kolb Road has a separate franchise owner. Owner J. Brian Latta said he wants everyone to know his Chuy’s is not involved in the investigation. He came to Arizona from California with Mark Evenson to start the chain but the business associates when separate directions in 2003.

    “I hope it doesn’t hurt my business,
    Illegal aliens remain exempt from American laws, while they DEMAND American rights...

  3. #3
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    Hmmmm! Wonder who would have known and tipped off the proper
    authorities. I love the IRS angle... Great bust.
    I love good news.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by airdale
    Hmmmm! Wonder who would have known and tipped off the proper
    authorities. I love the IRS angle... Great bust.
    I love good news.
    I agree. Forget about calling ICE, just call the IRS. Seems to be working.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mapwife's Avatar
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    This story is getting huge locally. I'm sure the "activists" are going balistic that they also arrested 40 illegal aliens.

    I now want to see them file state charges on these dudes too. Remember that AZ passed all kinds of laws that make these state violations too.

    I can believe the Maricopa Co atty general will, but Pima Co's will go out of her way not to.
    Illegal aliens remain exempt from American laws, while they DEMAND American rights...

  6. #6
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    Father-son owners, accountant paid them in cash, indictment says
    Feds: 3 execs of Chuy's hired crossers illegally

    Brady McCombs Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:00 am


    Federal agents arrested the father-son owners of 15 Chuy's Mesquite Broiler restaurants in Arizona and California on Wednesday on allegations they were knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and paying them under the table.

    Mark Evenson, 58, of Paradise Valley, and his son, Christopher Evenson, 39, of Oro Valley, were arrested along with the company's accountant, Diane Strehlow, 47, of Tempe.

    They face a variety of criminal charges including unlawful hiring and harboring of illegal immigrants, conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and tax evasion, said Vincent Picard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman.

    Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service served search warrants at four Chuy's in Tucson, seven in Phoenix and four in California, said Rick Crocker, ICE deputy special agent in charge in Tucson. Search warrants were also presented at two houses in Tucson and three houses in Phoenix.

    The arrests are the culmination of a two-year investigation that began with an anonymous tip that Chuy's was hiring illegal immigrants, Crocker said. The Evensons hired illegal immigrants to work in the kitchens of 15 Chuy's restaurants in Arizona and California, paying them off the books to avoid paying taxes, he said.

    Agents also arrested 40 illegal immigrants they encountered Wednesday at Chuy's locations in Arizona and California, including 18 in Tucson, Picard said. They are facing administrative immigration charges. But they weren't the focus of the investigation, Crocker said.

    "Our goal is not just to round up illegal aliens," Crocker said. "What we want to do is target the employers. We are trying to send a message that we are not going to tolerate this."

    If convicted, Mark Evenson could face up to 86 years in prison and a $5.3 million fine. His son could face up to 81 years in prison and a $5 million fine. The accountant, Strehlow, could face up to 40 years and a $2 million fine. The three will be arraigned today in federal court in Tucson.

    The company paid the illegal-immigrant workers by check and did not report their earnings in the quarterly federal tax returns, the indictment shows. The company has failed to pay at least $400,000 in Federal Insurance Contribution Act (Social Security and Medicare) taxes since January 2008, the indictment shows.

    "That provides an unfair commercial advantage for Chuy's," Crocker said.

    The Evensons hired legal workers to be servers and perform other front-of-the-restaurant jobs and paid them through regular payroll practices. The illegal workers were hired for the kitchen, the indictment says.

    Crocker said investigators are confident they've gathered sufficient evidence to prove in court that the Evensons "knowingly" hired the illegal-immigrant workers. That's a requirement of federal law for an employer to be found guilty.

    In November 2010, Mark Evenson instructed an employee preparing payroll that the restaurant did "cash" for the back help, the indictment says. "If those Social Security numbers get in the state, they'll come pick them up," Mark Evenson said.

    After receiving a complaint about illegal workers at a Lake Havasu City Chuy's in September 2010, Mark Evenson told an employee, "If we throw some American people in there, maybe that'll just shut (them) up," the indictment says. He told the employee, who he believed was an illegal immigrant, "I just need to get you off the oh, show floor. I need to hide you in the kitchen."

    When an employee told Christopher Evenson in August 2010 that a person he wanted to hire who was working at another restaurant had "no papers," Christopher Evenson told the employee that the other restaurant did "the same thing," the indictment says.

    Dating to 2008, the Evensons hired about 360 illegal immigrants to work at the 11 Chuy's in Arizona, the indictment alleges. The younger Evenson, Christopher, was primarily responsible for the Chuy's locations in Tucson, the indictment says..

    The restaurants

    The Chuy's locations in Tucson run by the Evensons are located at:

    • 3100 E. Speedway.

    • 7585 S. Houghton Rd.

    • 4499 W. Ina Rd.

    • 6310 Tanque Verde Rd.

    Different Owner

    The Chuy's on East 22nd Street at South Kolb Road has a separate franchise owner and was not involved in the investigation, said owner J. Brian Latta.

    Latta came to Arizona from California with Mark Evenson to start the chain but the business associates parted ways in 2003. "I hope it doesn't hurt my business," Latta said.

    Did You Know

    In May 2010, Chris and Mark Evenson agreed to pay $40,000 to settle a federal copyright lawsuit stemming from songs being played without permission.

    Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or bmccombs@azstarnet.com

    http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/a ... 2fb69.html

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    I wonder how many took advantage of free social services while sending money home.
    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at https://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newmexican
    I wonder how many took advantage of free social services while sending money home.
    im willing to bet all of em did

  9. #9
    Senior Member mapwife's Avatar
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    "Search warrants were also presented at two houses in Tucson and three houses in Phoenix."

    I believe this had to do with he harboring part. They put the employees up in houses they owned too.
    Illegal aliens remain exempt from American laws, while they DEMAND American rights...

  10. #10
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    http://www.kgun9.com/

    under main headlines. a poll asking if Chuy's business license should be suspended

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