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Steuben County Restaurant Owner Pleads Guilty to Tax Charges


The owner of a restaurant in Steuben County pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to helping in the preparation of a false or fraudulent tax return. U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross says Theodore LaFrance, of Hornell faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $100,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan K. McGuire, who is handling the case, stated that LaFrance, who owned and operated T&J Country Kitchen Inc. in Hornell, hired Staff Leasing Inc. to provide payroll services for his business. Between 2014 and 2018, LaFrance provided false information to Staff Leasing Inc. regarding the wages T&J Country Kitchen Inc. paid to its cooking and cleaning staff. LaFrance did not report the wages that were paid in cash to staff members. As a result, Staff Leasing Inc. used the false information to complete and file quarterly Forms 941 on behalf of T &J Country Kitchen Inc. IRS. Between 2014 and 2018, T&J Country Kitchen’s 941s did not include a total of $235,560.42 in wages, which resulted in a tax loss of approximately $36,040.74.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Thomas Fattorusso, Special Agent-in-Charge.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 10, 2024, before Judge Elizabeth Wolford.

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