GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Marco Cuellar, 37-years-old, of Hudsonville, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to serve 12 months in prison for filing false tax returns, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. announced today.
Before his sentencing, Cuellar, who owns and co-owns numerous Mexican restaurant chains in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, was also required to pay approximately $370,000.00 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in back taxes and penalties. U.S. Attorney Miles was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division.
According to his plea-agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Cuellar filed false tax returns for 2008 through 2012 with the Internal Revenue Service. During those years, Cuellar skimmed cash from his restaurants located in Michigan and then failed to report that income in his tax returns for those years; as a result, Cuellar avoided paying taxes on $607,914.00 of unreported income.
“Successful business owners have the same legal duty to pay their taxes as any other taxpayer, and any business owner who uses his or her business to cheat the tax-paying public has to understand that he or she runs the real risk of winding up as a defendant in Federal court,” stated U.S. Attorney Miles. “Mr. Cuellar ran that risk, and now he’s on his way to prison.”
“Cheating on your taxes is the same as stealing,” said Special Agent in Charge, Manny Muriel, of IRS Criminal Investigation. “Individuals who corruptly violate the law to further their business interests and intentionally evade paying their fair share of taxes undermine public confidence in our tax system and unfairly disadvantage businesses that follow the rules. As Marco Cuellar has discovered, operating outside the law and failing to pay taxes has severe consequences.”
As a citizen of Mexico who is present in the United States as a lawful permanent resident, Cuellar also faces removal proceedings back to Mexico once he is released from the Bureau of Prisons.