Restaurant owner in Boston area charged with naturalization fraud

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A former owner of restaurants in Boston and Chelsea was charged April 25, in federal court in Boston with committing fraud to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Burhan Ud Din, 49, of Watertown, was charged in a superseding indictment with one count of conspiracy, six counts of willful failure to collect and pay over tax, one count of making false statements under oath in a naturalization matter, and one count of procurement of naturalization contrary to law. Din was initially indicted for tax fraud in August 2017; the superseding indictment adds the naturalization allegations to the charges against him.

The charge of making false statements under oath in a naturalization matter provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of procuring citizenship contrary to law provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.

If convicted, Din will lose his U.S. citizenship, a press release from the Justice Department said. The charge of conspiracy to defraud the IRS provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution. The tax charges against Din provide for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine up to $250,000, restitution, and payment of the costs of prosecution.

Din’s co-conspirators, Hazrat Khan, 58, of Middletown, NY, and Khurshed Iqbal, 58, both Pakistani nationals, were separately charged in an 18-count superseding indictment April 2017,  with conspiracy and willful failure to pay over taxes. In November 2017, Khan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Iqbal’s whereabouts are unknown.

According to the superseding indictment, Din and his co-conspirators are alleged to have defrauded the government and avoided paying payroll and income taxes owed by the restaurants they owned and operated, Crown Fried Chicken located in Chelsea and Kennedy Fried Chicken in Boston. Din, Khan, and Iqbal allegedly took steps to conceal Khan’s ownership interests in one of the stores, and Din allegedly provided the tax preparer for both stores with false information about the restaurants’ payroll and income, causing the tax preparer to file false tax returns.

The superseding indictment adds allegations that Din falsely stated under oath during naturalization proceedings in 2009 that he did not owe any overdue taxes.

Federal law requires employers to withhold payroll taxes and then pay them over to the IRS.  To avoid paying taxes, Din, Khan, and Iqbal allegedly falsely reported the number of employees—some of whom were undocumented workers—and wages paid to the IRS. They also allegedly paid employees under the table and filed income-tax returns that falsely described their sales, total income, compensation of officers, salaries and wages, and taxable income, the Justice Department press release said.

 

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