Restaurateur Thom Pham faces 38 felony counts of tax fraud after investigators say he underreported monthly taxable sales at his Thanh Do restaurant in St. Louis Park.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced the charges Wednesday and said the total loss to the state, including penalties and interest, was more than $130,000.
Pham, 44, was known to have a history of not filing tax returns, evading collection and having audit issues when the investigation began in July 2016, according the complaint.
Investigators with the Minnesota Department of Revenue searched Pham’s rented home in Plymouth in July 2017 and recovered several bins of restaurant records, the complaint said. Auditors used those to compare business at Thanh Do with monthly taxes collected from November 2013 to December 2016.
Auditors determined Pham and his company Thanh Do, Inc. had underreported monthly taxable sales by $118,138 during that time, according to the complaint.
“We believe that taxpayers should report, pay and receive the right amount: no more, no less,” Department of Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly said in a statement. “These charges demonstrate the thorough and detailed work of our investigators to ensure fairness in our tax laws.”
Pham could not be reached for comment Wednesday. A phone number listed in his name was disconnected; it was unclear if he had an attorney.
According to the complaint, Pham sold Thanh Do to his girlfriend in December 2016 and she reopened it as Kai and Little Crustacean on Jan. 1, 2017.
Pham has owned multiple Twin Cities restaurants, including Wondrous Azian Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis, which closed abruptly in 2012, and Azia, which closed in 2010 after seven years at 26th Street and Nicollet Avenue S.
In 2012, Pham faced felony charges in connection with $30,000 in bad checks written to a restaurant equipment company. Public records show he pleaded guilty and was convicted of a misdemeanor, issuing a dishonored check.
His first court appearance on the new charges is Sept. 13. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years and up to a $10,000 fine.