Acting United States Attorney Nicholas Vassallo announced today that Jin Chen Liang 62, of Corona, California, has been convicted of conspiracy to defraud the government during a hearing on Aug. 16, 2022, before U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl, according to a statement from the Justice Department.
Liang was sentenced to five years’ probation, the first six months under house arrest, and ordered to pay a $200 special assessment and more than $700,000 in restitution to the state of Wyoming and the IRS.
The United States recommended a 30-month prison sentence.
Liang developed, sold, and installed software that allowed several restaurants in Wyoming to hide cash sales, causing restaurant owners to under-report the amount of sales tax owed to the state of Wyoming and the amount of income tax owed to the federal government.
Liang sold the software to individuals who owned restaurants in Casper, Cheyenne, Green River, Riverton and Rock Springs.
The total amount of underreported tax was approximately $2 million.
The Wyoming Department of Audit suspected the software’s presence at Wyoming restaurant outlets and cooperated with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the IRS during the investigation.
Restaurant owners who bought and used Liang’s software, Quyen Sam Ha, Soi Sam Ha and Jenn Sam Ho, were previously convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government.
All convicted restaurant owners were given 5 years of supervised probation and have already repaid more than $1.8 million to the state of Wyoming and the IRS.
“This was the culmination of an investigation that began in 2016 involving multiple restaurants in Wyoming,” said United States Acting Attorney Nicholas Vassallo. “The crime enabled by Liang’s software not only harmed the state of Wyoming but also created an unfair advantage over law-abiding restaurant owners who lawfully paid state and federal taxes. Thanks to the diligent and concerted work of both federal and state investigative agencies, Liang’s criminal enterprise has been dismantled.”
“Using revenue suppression software to hide your earnings is a crime not only against the federal government, but against all honest taxpayers,” said Andy Tsui, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Denver Field Office. “Special agents from the IRS Criminal Investigation are experts in detecting sophisticated tax avoidance schemes, and we will continue to prosecute individuals and organizations attempting to evade their tax obligations.”
This crime was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, the Wyoming Department of Audit, and the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.
Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie I. Sprecher continued the case.