Wyoming Federal Judge Sentences California Man for Fraud
A California man was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $700,000 in restitution to the state of Wyoming and the Internal Revenue Service for defrauding the government, according to a news release from Acting Wyoming U.S. Attorney Nicholas Vassallo on Wednesday.
Jin Chen Liang, 62, of Corona, California, heard the sentence during a hearing before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl on Aug. 16.
The first six months of probation will be served under home confinement. Besides the order of restitution, Skavdahl ordered Liang to pay a $200 special assessment.
Federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of 30 months incarceration.
Court records say Liang developed, sold, and installed software that enabled several restaurants in Wyoming to conceal cash sales, facilitating the restaurant owners’ under-reporting of the amount of sales tax owed to the state and the amount of income tax owed to the federal government.
Liang sold the software to people who owned restaurants in Casper, Cheyenne, Green River, Riverton and Rock Springs, but the news release did not identify them.
The total amount of under-reported tax was approximately $2 million.
Vassallo said the investigation started in 2016, and Liangs software harmed not only the State of Wyoming, but it also created an unfair advantage over law-abiding restaurant owners who lawfully paid state and federal taxes," he said. "Due to the diligent and collaborative work of both federal and state investigative agencies, Liang’s criminal enterprise has been dismantled.”
The Wyoming Department of Audit suspected the presence of the software on the Wyoming restaurants’ point of sales systems and collaborated with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the IRS during the investigation.
Restaurant owners who bought and used Liang’s software, Quyen Sam Ha, Soi Sam Ha, and Jenn Sam Ho, were previously convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government.
The news release did not identify the restaurants.
All the convicted restaurant owners were placed on supervised probation for a term of five years and have already paid restitution totaling more than $1.8 million to the state and the IRS.
Andy Tsui, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge in the Denver Field Office said using revenue suppression software to hide income is a crime against the government, but all honest taxpayers.
“IRS Criminal Investigation special agents are experts in uncovering sophisticated tax avoidance schemes, and we will continue to pursue individuals and organizations attempting to avoid their tax obligations," Tsui said.