One of the owner-operators of Thai Original BBQ restaurants in Los Angeles County and elsewhere was sentenced Thursday to state prison for tax and wage fraud.

Chaturonk Ngamary Jr. was sentenced to two years behind bars, which will be suspended if he successfully completes two years of probation, including 180 days on work release, according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

Prior to sentencing in Los Angeles Superior Court, Ngamary paid $1.5 million in restitution to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, the Employment Development Department and multiple insurance carriers, Bonta said.

The restitution includes total sales and payroll tax liability, unpaid workers’ compensation insurance premiums, the cost of the investigation and interest on unpaid tax liabilities.

“When a business fails to pay taxes and workers’ compensation premiums, they harm their employees and impact the state’s ability to fund public services for our communities,” Bonta said. “As the owner of multiple restaurants in California, the defendant failed to meet his obligation to the people of California and his employees. Thank you to all our partners for collaborating to investigate and hold the defendants in this case accountable for their actions.”

In December 2019, Ngamary Jr. and his father were charged with 57 and 51 counts, respectively, of evading the payment and reporting of $977,836 in sales tax, payroll tax and workers’ compensation insurance premiums, according to the AG.

Ngamary Jr. pleaded guilty in August 2020 to sales tax evasion, possessing sales suppression software, failure to pay payroll taxes and also admitted to a white-collar crime enhancement.

Chaturonk Ngamary Sr., who co-owned the restaurants in Los Angeles and San Francisco with his son and is alleged to have participated in the crime, has fled the country and is currently living in Thailand, Bonta said.

Sanjutha Hantanachaikul, the owner and operator of one Thai Original BBQ restaurant, was also charged with nine counts of evading the payment and reporting of $3,575 in payroll tax and workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

In August 2020, Hantanachaikul pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return and was sentenced to three years summary probation.

Before she was sentenced, Hantanachaikul paid $6,751 restitution, which included the total payroll tax liability, interest on the unpaid tax liability and workers’ compensation insurance premiums, the AG said.

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