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Taqueria Arandas Offers Tax Fraud On The Side (Allegedly)

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Taqueria Arandas stores are all over Houston -- the place to go (for some people) for a full meal or something from the bakery.

And, apparently, a place to find a tax cheat.

Eight Taqueria Arandas owners have been charged with filing false income-tax returns that deprived the feds of more than $4 million in income and employment taxes, the U.S. Attorney's office has announced.

That's a lot of unreported -- what the hell's the Mexican word for "dough? -- ah, forget it. Nevertheless, it seems an impressive piece of bookkeeping.

The biggest fish was Pedro Villapando, who owns two restaurants. He's accused of filing 11 false income-tax returns from 2001 to 2006, understating sales by $8.3 million to avoid paying almost $1.8 million in income taxes. He's also accused of failing to pay $866,000 in employment taxes.

Seven others face similar charges, although the amount of hidden income and avoided taxes is smaller. They all face prison time and hefty fines.

If you're going to a Taqueria Arandas soon, be sure to make a joke about it. We're sure the folks will appreciate it.

-- Richard Connelly

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