New Ulm restaurant operator charged with multiple felony tax crimes

(ABC 6 News) – A New Ulm, Minnesota restaurant operator has been charged with 29 tax-related felonies by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

Juan Manuel Ocampo-Bunola, of New Ulm, is charged with 24 felony counts of assisting in the filing of false or fraudulent sales tax returns and 5 felony counts of filing false or fraudulent individual income tax returns.

According to the complaints, Ocampo-Bunola is CEO of Las Lomas Inc., which operates Plaza Garibaldi, located in Redwood Falls and La Terraza in Mankato. While the company is registered under his wife’s name, the complaints allege that Ocampo-Bunola was intimately involved in the restaurants’ operations.

Ocampo-Bunola allegedly removed hundreds of sales transactions each month, assisting the restaurants in underreporting their sales on their tax returns for multiple periods from Jan. 2017 through Dec. 2020.

Additionally, the complaints allege that by underreporting sales from the restaurants, Ocampo-Bunola also underreported income on the individual income tax returns he filed jointly with his wife for tax years 2016 through 2020. In all, Ocampo-Bunola allegedly owes more than $570,000 in tax, penalties, and interest.

Each tax-related felony charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.