7 face criminal charges in Teppanyaki Grill tax evasion investigation

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The owners of a chain of restaurants that span six Indiana counties now face criminal charges in a tax investigation.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said Thursday the owners failed to report an estimated total of $8,043,633 in sales from seven Teppanyaki Grill and similarly-branded restaurants, leading to nearly $675,000 in unpaid taxes to the state.

The investigation began in Oct. 2014 when the prosecutor’s office and the Indiana Department of Revenue began to look into the restaurants located in Allen, Grant, Hendricks, Marion, Tippecanoe and Vigo counties. Officials say each location used nearly identical business practices.

In Aug. 2016, search warrants were served at several locations, but investigators were tight-lipped on the details.

Now, officials say evidence allegedly shows the suspects engaged in “cash skimming” to conceal and underreport as much as 46 percent of cash sales. The prosecutor’s office says the restaurants typically reported less than five percent of their sales to the Indiana Department of Revenue.

Prosecutor Curry said a separate civil forfeiture action resulted in $40,185 being collected for forfeiture to local law enforcement.

Through a separate civil forfeiture action, $40,185.68 in previously seized assets has been collected for forfeiture to local law enforcement agencies.

“The filing of these charges is yet another example of our work to hold accountable those who we believe are playing by their own rules, often to the disadvantage of other businesses in our community,” Prosecutor Curry said. “We committed to re-establishing the ability of our office to investigate and prosecute complex white collar crime. We have also built successful partnerships with agencies such the Indiana Department of Revenue, and together we will continue to expand this work on behalf of taxpayers.”

The following people face charges in connection with this investigation:

  • Shuai Li: Corrupt business influence, two counts of theft and two counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust. Li is the owner of Teppanyaki Grill Supreme Buffet, located at 9701 E. Washington Street in Indianapolis.
  • Chunhua Wang: Corrupt business influence, two counts of theft and two counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust. Wang is the owner of Teppanyaki Grill Super Buffet, Inc., located at 2641 Maple Point Drive in Lafayette.
  • Guo Wu Wu: Corrupt business influence, two counts of theft and two counts failure to remit taxes held in trust. Wu is the owner of Teppanyaki Supreme Buffet 285, Inc., located at 285 E. Colliseum Boulevard in Fort Wayne.
  • Jin Qui Zhao: Corrupt business influence, two counts of theft and two counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust. Zhao is the owner of Teppanyaki Buffet, Inc., located at 1310 W. 38th Street in Marion.
  • Ji Rong Lin: Corrupt business influence, two counts of theft and two counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust. Lin is the owner of Hokkaido Japanese Buffet, Inc., located at 380 S. Highway 41 in Terre Haute.
  • Guang Feng Li: Corrupt business influence, four counts of theft and four counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust. Li is the owner of China King Feng, LLC., located at 2535 E. Main Street Suite 108 in Plainfield and of Teppanyaki Grill Supreme Buffet, located at 9701 E. Washington Street in Indianapolis.
  • Sheng Yi Li: Corrupt business influence, three counts of theft and three counts of failure to remit taxes held in trust. Li is the owner of Teppanyaki West, Inc., located at 5390 W. 38th Street in Indianapolis.

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