Prison term imposed in tax case

The owner of a grocery and fast-food store in Kahului was sentenced Tuesday to one year and one day of imprisonment for income tax evasion and illegal structuring of a currency transaction, the U.S. attorney’s office in Honolulu reported.

Roger Santos, owner of Paradise Asian Foods Inc. – which does business as Paradise Supermart Fast Food & Catering – also was ordered to pay $317,599 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and to perform 100 hours of community service.

Santos, 54, of Kahului had pleaded guilty to the charges in May.

According to documents filed in connection with the case, Santos diverted $959,883 from the checking account of his business into multiple personal checking accounts in 2008. He reported as income only the money deposited into the business account, fraudulently lowering his taxable income by $365,267 for the 2008 tax year, according to court records.

Information produced to the court showed that Santos deposited $30,000 in currency into multiple bank accounts on the same day in order to evade certain regulations relating to currency transactions, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Under federal law, a currency transaction report must be filed by a financial institution with the Internal Revenue Service for any currency transaction of more than $10,000. It is illegal to structure transactions with financial institutions in order to avoid the filing requirement.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi sentenced Santos in federal court in Honolulu. His imprisonment is to be followed by six months of home confinement and three years of supervised release.

The charges resulted from an investigation conducted by the IRS – Criminal Investigation.

According to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Paradise Asian Foods was registered as a business in March 2003 and does business on East Wakea Avenue.