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Hornell restaurant owner admits to wage-related tax fraud

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  • Staff Report 

A local restaurant owner, Theodore LaFrance, admitted to wage-related tax fraud charges in the U.S. District Court. Chief U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford presided over the case in which LaFrance pleaded guilty to assisting in preparing a deceitful tax return.


The charges bring with them potential penalties of up to three years in prison and fines reaching $100,000.

U.S. Attorney Meghan K. McGuire revealed that between 2014 and 2018, LaFrance, the owner of T&J Country Kitchen Inc., relayed incorrect wage information to his payroll service provider, Staff Leasing Inc. The misreporting pertained to cash wages paid to the restaurant’s kitchen and janitorial personnel, which went unreported. The false reporting amounted to unaccounted wages of $235,560.42 over the years, leading to a tax deficit of approximately $36,040.74.

The Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division spearheaded the probe, leading to the forthcoming sentencing scheduled for January 10, 2024.