San Antonio Businessman Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 28, 2013|
Kenneth William Griffin, age 62, also known as Ted Baker, and owner of the Restaurant Repair Company in San Antonio, Texas, pled guilty today before Chief United States District Judge Fred Biery to wire fraud, announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez.
The indictment alleged that Griffin, as the owner of the Restaurant Repair Company, which performed restaurant equipment service, sales, and installation in San Antonio, perpetrated a scheme to defraud the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts of sales tax he was required to pay to the state of Texas on a monthly basis.
The state of Texas, through the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, requires businesses that provide sales and services to the public to collect sales taxes and pay all these collected sales taxes to the state of Texas on a monthly basis. Griffin’s company was required to file a sales tax return each calendar month and report total monthly sales, taxable sales, state tax due, local tax due, and amount being paid to the state. According to the indictment and Griffin’s plea of guilty, he or an employee at his direction electronically filed materially false monthly sales tax returns for the Restaurant Repair Company from January 1, 2010, through January 20, 2012.
The filings falsely understated the company’s taxable sales by approximately 90 percent, and Griffin routinely paid the state of Texas only about 10 percent of the actual sales taxes collected from customers that were due and owing.
The scheme to defraud the state of Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts resulted in a loss of approximately $169,052.82 to the state of Texas. In addition to operating the Restaurant Repair Company, Griffin hosted a weekly radio talk show promoting ways to avoid paying sales taxes. Griffin faces up to five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years’ supervised release, and restitution of the amount of the loss. Sentencing will be at a later date.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division, and the Texas Comptroller’s Criminal Investigation Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Roomberg prosecuted the case.