Restaurant owner who lived 'lavish lifestyle' with 'private tennis court' sentenced to prison for tax fraud

Restaurant owner who lived ‘lavish lifestyle’ with ‘private tennis court’ sentenced to prison for tax fraud

(As originally published with additional photos, Fri, December 22nd 2023)

ORLANDO, Fla. (TND) — A restaurant owner who prosecutors said “maintained a lavish lifestyle” has been sentenced to federal prison for tax fraud.

Manuel Tato had multiple restaurants in the Orlando area from 2010 to 2017 and was supposed to collect and pay employment taxes on behalf of his approximately 645 employees.

Those employment taxes include federal income tax, Medicare, and Social Security.

The feds, citing court documents, said “Tato withheld employment taxes from his employees’ paychecks and informed his employees that he was doing so on their paystubs,” but, “he never actually paid those taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.”

How much?

He reportedly owed the IRS $93,690.66 from July 2016 to March 2017, and a total of more than $2 million over the years.

“Tato used a complex corporate structure, different Federal Employer Identification Numbers, and numerous bank accounts to attempt to disguise his criminal activity,” prosecutors said.

“During this time, Tato maintained a lavish lifestyle, sending his children to private school, and living in a million-dollar mansion with a private tennis court,” they added.

Restaurant owner who lived 'lavish lifestyle' with 'private tennis court' sentenced to prison for tax fraud
Manuel Tato “was sentenced to four years and nine months in federal prison, plus pay a $250,000 fine and $93,690.66 in restitution” on Dec. 18, 2023. (U.S. Attorney’s Office)

“Additionally, in 2020, and after being informed that he was under investigation for failing to pay employment taxes, Tato and his family purchased a beach house.”

In April, he pleaded guilty.

Monday, he was sentenced to four years and nine months in federal prison, plus pay a $250,000 fine and $93,690.66 in restitution.

“Today’s sentencing cooks up a fresh reminder to those who prioritize a luxurious lifestyle over fulfilling their obligations towards hardworking employees and the nation’s tax requirements will not escape justice,” IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Tara K. Reed said.

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