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CALL 6: Prosecutors allege money laundering at buffets

$600k seized during raids at Teppanyaki Grill
Posted: 5:32 PM, Aug 22, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-22 20:32:21-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- New court documents obtained by Call 6 Investigates are shedding light on why police officers raided several all-you-can eat buffets throughout Indiana earlier this month.

CALL 6 |  Teppanyaki Buffet manager: We didn't do anything wrong  |  Search warrants executed at two restaurants in Marion County

The Marion County Prosecutor’s office filed a civil complaint in Marion County Superior Court listing Teppanyaki Grill, Teppanyaki West on West 38th Street in Indianapolis, supplier Union Broker Limited, Hokkaido Japanese Buffet in Terre Haute and dozens of the restaurants' managers and affiliates.

Although the August 16 filing is not criminal, the civil complaint does reference possible criminal prosecution.

The complaint alleges the Teppanyaki restaurants and their partners participated in a “corrupt enterprise, through a pattern of racketeering activity.”

It also alleges they committed money laundering and theft by failing to pay the required state taxes.

“This money laundering took the form of receiving, concealing, possessing, transferring, or transporting the proceeds of criminal activity, and/or conducting, supervising, or facilitating a transaction involving the proceeds of criminal activity and consists of more than one of such incidents of such criminal conduct over time,” the complaint says.

Officers seized more than $639,418 from Teppanyaki Grill and its affiliates, including $338,633 from Union Broker Limited/Indy Market and Restaurant Supply, and $13,933.87 from Teppanyaki West on West 38th Street.

In the court filing, prosecutors asked the judge for the restaurants to forfeit the  money and property seized during the August 11 raids.

Prosecutors also asked the judge to issue an order prohibiting Teppanyaki and its affiliates from violating Indiana law, and to stop them from operating altogether.

No hearing date has been set yet.

Prosecutors are also asking the judge to prevent the restaurants’ managers from dissolving and reorganizing.

An attorney for the west side location said they have been operating in good standing with the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, and produced a registration from March 2016 with the name “Teppanyaki West Incorporated.”

CALL 6 | Attorney: Teppanyaki Buffet raids focused on tax, employment records

Indiana Secretary of State records show a Teppanyaki restaurant at the same address under the name “Teppanyaki 38 Inc.”  voluntarily dissolved in April 2015.

The Marion County prosecutor’s office confirmed Monday that a forfeiture action had been filed, but declined to comment any further on the case.