Bonzai Japanese Steak House owner sentenced to prison for tax fraud


LUBBOCK, Texas - Filing false income tax returns has landed an Abilene restaurant owner a three-year federal prison sentence.

Ai Shu Cheng, 52, of San Angelo pleaded guilty to two counts of filing false returns in December. Last week he was sentenced to 36 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,767,566 in restitution, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney John Parker's office.

According to state records, Cheng is listed as an owner of Bonzai Japanese Steak House in Abilene and formerly an owner of Bonsai Garden in San Angelo. Management with Bonsai Garden in San Angelo says the restaurant is under new ownership and is not affiliated with Cheng.

Court documents say that in 2011, Cheng filed a tax return reporting a total income of a little more than $208,000, but his actual income was about $696,000. Then again in 2013, Cheng filed a return claiming a total income of $186,000 while his actual income was about $601,000.

The discrepancies caused a loss to the Internal Revenue Service of about $310,000.

Cheng was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on May 26.

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