Springfield restaurant operators arraigned over allegedly defrauding the state out of sales tax revenue | Top Stories

CHICAGO, Ill. (WAND) – Operators of a Springfield restaurant were arraigned on Thursday, after the Attorney General’s office allegedly they defrauded the state out of more than $ 100,000 in sales tax revenue.

Attorney General Raoul charged Amanda Paz, 42, and Nicolas Paz, 40, both of Springfield, with theft of government funds over $ 100,000, a Class X felony, and sales tax evasion, a Class 1 felony. The Class X felony is punishable by up to six to 30 years in prison.

Amanda and Nicolas Paz operate the AZ-T-CA Mexican Grill located at 2753 Chatham Road in Springfield.

According to Raoul, both Nicolas and Amanda participated in a scheme of collecting sales tax and allegedly pocketing the funds from all sales but under-reported monthly sales to the restaurant’s accountant and, ultimately, to the state.

“Business operators who commit sales tax fraud take advantage of customers who have paid to help them meet their tax obligations and also deprive important programs and services of needed revenue,” Raoul said. “I appreciate the continued partnership of the Illinois Department of Revenue as we seek to keep these individuals accountable.”

The Illinois Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigation Division is investigating through an initiative that targets sales tax evasion and theft of government funds.

The investigation indicates Amanda and Nicolas Paz provided false sales tax information to the restaurant’s accountants from January of 2015 to October of 2019.

The defenders allegedly defrauded the state of Illinois out of more than $ 100,000 by under-reporting more than $ 1 million in total sales generated from the restaurant.

“Sales tax fraud robs the public of needed revenue and hurts legitimate businesses. The Illinois Department of Revenue remains vigilant to those who try to break the law and avoid paying required taxes, ”said Department of Revenue Director David Harris. “We will continue to work hard to ensure that all businesses pay their fair share. I congratulate our Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Attorney General’s Office for their hard work. ”

Nicolas and Amanda plead not guilty at the arraignment, and are scheduled to return to court on August 22.

The public is reminded the defenders are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Assistant Attorney General Mansoor Broachwala is handling the case for Raoul’s Special Prosecutions Bureau.

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