INDIANAPOLIS -- Several buffet restaurant owners have been arrested following criminal charges for theft and failure to remit taxes held in trust.
Records show Sheng Li, Guang Li, and Ji Lin were all booked into the Marion County jail Monday and released the same day.
Sheng Li is listed as the owner of Teppanyaki West, Inc. at 5390 W. 38th Street.
Guang Li is the owner of China King Feng, 2535 E. Main Street in Plainfield and Teppanyaki Grill
Supreme Buffet, located at 9701 E. Washington Street in Indianapolis, prosecutors said.
When Call 6 Investigates contacted the E. Washington Street location last week, a worker said they changed their name to Daily Buffet & Grill and are under new ownership.
Ji Lin is the owner of Hokkaido Japanese Buffet, 280 S. Highway 41 in Terre Haute.
Guang Li and Sheng Li are due in court on August 15 for a pretrial conference, records show
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and the Indiana Department of Revenue announced charges of corrupt business influence, theft and failure to remit taxes against seven people accused of underreporting more than $8 million in sales from seven Teppanyaki and similarly branded restaurants.
Police raided two Teppanyaki Grill & Buffet locations in Marion County in August 2016 and seized more than $600,000 in alleged money laundering proceeds.
Prosecutors also filed a civil complaint again Teppanyaki Grill, Teppanyaki West, Union Broker Limited, Hokkaido Japanese Buffet in Terre Haute and dozens of the restaurants’ managers and affiliates.
At the time, prosecutors left open the possibility of criminal charges being filed in the case.
The defendants charged in the case are as follows:
• Shua Li, owner of Teppanyaki Grill Supreme Buffet (Indianapolis)
• Chunhua Wang, owner of Teppanyaki Grill Super Buffet (Lafayette)
• Guo Wu Wu, owner of Teppanyaki Supreme Buffet 285 (Fort Wayne)
• Jin Qui Zhao, owner of Teppanyaki Buffet, Inc. (Marion)
• Ji Rong Lin, owner of Hokkaido Japanese Buffet (Terre Haute)
• Guang Feng Li, owner of China King Feng, LLLC (Plainfield) and Teppanyaki Grill Supreme Buffet (Indianapolis)
• Sheng Yi Li, owner of Teppanyaki West (Indianapolis)
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case, investigators allege the defendants used cash sales to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in sales revenue – which they then failed to pay sales taxes on.
The investigation began with search warrants served at a single Teppanyaki location in Indianapolis in October 2014. Ultimately it expanded to restaurants in Terre Haute, Plainfield, Lafayette and Marion, as well as a second Indianapolis location.
Although the charges only cover alleged activities during the 2014-2016 period, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said they have “no reason to believe that it hasn’t been going on at these restaurants for years and years.”
Records show Shuai Li is expected in Marion County court on May 10, and an arrest warrant was issued for Chunhua Wang.
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