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Attorney General Rob Bonta Announces Arraignment of Bay Area Restaurant Owners on Allegations of Tax Evasion and Labor Law Violations

Operators of Kome Japanese Seafood Buffet and Tomi Japanese Seafood Buffet arraigned in Sacramento County Superior Court

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the arraignment of three individuals on charges connected to allegations of sales tax evasion and labor law violations at the Bay Area restaurants they owned and operated. The three defendants were the owners, operators, and the certified public accountant of Kome Japanese Seafood Buffet Inc. in Daly City, Tomi Japanese Seafood and Grill Inc. in San Jose, and Tomi Japanese Seafood Buffet in Concord. They were arraigned yesterday in Sacramento County Superior Court on 65 counts including filing a false tax return with intent to evade paying taxes, failure to pay unemployment insurance and training tax, failure to pay disability insurance, failure to collect and pay income tax, and grand theft of labor. One defendant self-surrendered to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office earlier this week, two defendants were remanded into custody on the arrest warrant at the arraignment hearing.

“Thank you to the investigators and attorneys at our partner agencies: the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, the California Department of Industrial Relations, and the Employment Development Department whose hard work shed light on the alleged theft and tax evasion happening in these restaurants, and ultimately led to the apprehension of these defendants,” said Attorney General Bonta. “We take our responsibility to protect working people and tax payer money seriously, and look forward to proving these allegations in court.” 

The arraignment was the result of an investigation by the California Department of Justice (DOJ), CDTFA, EDD, and DIR. DOJ, CDTFA, and EDD are a part of the Tax Recovery in the Underground Economy (TRUE) Task Force. TRUE began investigating suspected labor law violations, sales and employment tax evasion, and suppression of sales by the defendants in 2017. The defendants allegedly stole more than $893,000 in wages from their employees and evaded $287,697 in sales tax to CDTFA and $171,820.55 in employment taxes to EDD.

The TRUE Task Force was created to ensure multiagency collaboration and to combat wage theft, tax evasion, and other crimes in the underground economy. The task force consists of attorneys, investigators, and special agents from the member agencies. DOJ’s TRUE attorneys will handle the prosecution of the defendants. 

It is important to note that every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 

A copy of the complaint is available here.