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Monday, September 12, 2011

Taqueria El Balazo Owners Face Prison Time After Immigration Guilty Plea

Posted By on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 4:45 PM

click to enlarge Can we see your papers, please? - MENUISM.COM
  • Can we see your papers, please?

The owners of Taqueria El Balazo pleaded guilty last week in federal court to immigration and tax violations, and face up to 20 years in prison.

Marino Sandoval, 58, and his wife Nicole Sandoval, 50, were charged last year with harboring and employing illegal immigrants, knowingly misusing employee's social security numbers and tax fraud, according to SF Appeal.

The shocking thing isn't that the Sandovals employed illegal immigrants in the kitchen; we're not going to say that happens a lot around here, so let's just not say anything.

What makes the case surprising is that this case was a new one two years after federal agents raided El Balazo in 2008 and discovered the Sandovals were employing 63 illegal immigrants. The case got plenty of attention locally; it wasn't something the feds were likely to forget.

Yet the US Attorney's office says the Sandovals rehired at least 10 of the people caught up in the raids despite getting notice of their identities from investigators.

And the San Ramon Express reported that "Nicole Sandoval told the court she under-reported employee wages to the payroll company she and her husband used to prepare tax returns. The pair admitted that, based upon their actions, the amount of employment taxes paid to the Internal Revenue Service was understated."

The Sandovals are scheduled to be sentenced in December. They can only hope for the mercy Marino's brother Francisco Sandoval got when he pleaded guilty to tax charges last year; he got three years' probation.

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