Prosecutors: Restaurant owners underreported $22.7 million in sales; plea deal reached

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INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 22, 2015) – Prosecutors announced charges in a multi-county investigation involving a string of central Indiana businesses.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said the investigation spanned 26 restaurants in 10 Indiana counties. It focused on the El Rodeo and El Jaripeo Mexican restaurant chains.

The restaurants are alleged to have underreported an estimated $22.7 million in sales, Curry said. The owners—Francisco Salgado, Jose Melendez and Abel Bustos—entered plea agreements in the case. Salgado and Melendez agreed to plead guilty to 10 counts of theft while Bustos agreed to plead guilty to two counts of theft.

The restaurants forfeited more than $4.5 million to state and local authorities.

Analysis of the restaurants’ sales for 2010 through 2012 estimated that more than 25 percent of sales were not reported to the state. Investigators said the defendants concealed their sales through a number of methods.

Curry said the restaurants would remain open.

The defendants are due in court for initial hearings on Feb. 2 at 9 a.m.

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