Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Minneapolis restaurant owner charged with tax evasion

Author:

The owner of a now-closed Uptown Minneapolis restaurant has been charged with 68 counts of tax fraud.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday that Michael Whitelaw, 46, of Eagan, is charged with failing to pay sales tax and filing false tax returns after underreporting the restaurant's income for nearly three years.

Whitelaw owned and operated the Social House Asian fusion restaurant on Hennepin Avenue, which closed in July, as well as its predecessor. According to the criminal complaint, Whitelaw underreported the sales at the restaurant by $1.1 million in 2009, 2010 and most of 2011, thereby underpaying the sales tax he owed to the state by $100,000.

Freeman said the restaurant was not having financial difficulties at the time. "He was just ripping people off," he said, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

Apparently, Whitelaw was not aware the charges were being filed. When contacted by the Business Journal Wednesday afternoon, Whitelaw said he had "not heard a peep" about the charges before the reporter told him on the phone.

Freeman said the charges came after an investigation by the state Department of Revenue.

"Mr. Whitelaw knowingly took the money his customers rightly thought was going to the state government and kept it for his business," Freeman said. "That type of behavior cheats the taxpayers who are following the law and cheats other businesses in competition with Mr. Whitelaw."

Whitelaw had also been audited by the department before 2009 for failing to file accurate sales tax returns, and had been instructed in the proper procedures, Freeman said.

Whitelaw owes the state $171,391 in taxes, penalties and interest, according to the county attorney's office. He is not in custody, and no court date has been set yet.

Each count he faces is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, according to the Business Journal.

Next Up

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, December 3

The latest from the health department. The next update comes Monday.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man who threatened suicide by cop detained, hospitalized

Officers responded to the incident at around 1:40 a.m. Friday.

northbound remodel facebook

Northbound brewpub reopens with new look, revamped menu

It had been closed since October for the big remodel.

Snow, Hanley Falls

Latest storm track, snow forecast for weekend winter storm

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch.

gianni's wayzata heated patio

These Twin Cities restaurants have heated patios for outdoor winter dining

From bonfires to igloos, Twin Cities restaurants have you covered as temperatures drop.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kirill Kaprizov's slow start is a thing of the past

A potential sophomore slump has been erased with a three-point night against the Devils..

mpd aldi incident screengrab

Video shows MPD officer grab, throw Aldi customer

The department says the matter was referred to the Office of Police Conduct Review.

US Sec Defense Flickr - Joe Bide Nov 11 2021

Biden lays out wintertime plan to curb COVID's spread

It comes as the U.S. reported its second case of the omicron variant.

Related

Tax forms

Owners of Minneapolis adult daycare charged with tax evasion

Two owners falsified financial documents, federal authorities say.

Port of Duluth-Superior

Duluth souvenir store owner charged with tax evasion

Shimon Shaked allegedly evaded more than $800,000 worth of income tax.