Sterling Heights Business Owners Accused of Using “Zapper” to Falsify Business Transactions

Original Case Details

A married couple that owns the popular Sterling Heights Asian restaurant Chung Ki Wa have been accused of both filing false tax returns as well as using a “zapper” that falsifies business transactions. Chung Ki Wa is known for its Korean BBQ, Japanese Sushi, and Chinese dishes. The Michigan state Department of Treasury found that the couple allegedly failed to report more than $165,000 in sales tax that they should have collected since 2013. A zapper is a software that is used by business owners to manipulate their point of sale devices, typically programming the software to suppress sales numbers in an effort to under-report tax liabilities to the government. An investigation into what was leading to this underreporting led to the Attorney General’s office believing that the couple was using a zapper.

Summary of Criminal Charges and Potential Penalties

Both the husband (73 years old) and wife (62 years old) in this case are charged with seven felonies, they include:

• Six counts of filing a false tax return: These are felony charges that each carry a maximum of five year in state prison. Each charge carries a maximum fine of up to $5,000 per conviction.

• One count of possession of an automated sales suppression device: This charge carries a mandatory minimum of one year in state prison with a maximum of five years in state prison. A conviction for this charge also carries a maximum fine of up to $100,000.

Both the husband and wife were arraigned in the 41A District Court in Sterling Heights in front of Judge Stephen Sierawksi back on July 21st of this year. The couple is not currently in custody and has appeared for a probable cause conference on August 3rd of this year. They will face their next court date at a date to be determined.

What Happens Next?

This case will largely depend on the evidence relating to the use of a so-called “zapper.” If the prosecution is able to prove that the couple was regularly using a zapper to undermine the integrity of their point of sale system, then the couple will likely be found guilty of all charges. This is because the alleged use of the zapper is what directly led to alleged under reporting of income on the couple’s tax returns. If the prosecutor is not able to prove that the couple was using a zapper in their point of sale system, then that would likely cause them to be acquitted of all charges for the very same reason. This case will require extensive expert testimony from both sides in order to show what forms a zapper can come in, and what they can do. Further, the prosecutor will have to show how the zapper was allegedly used by the couple in the operation of their popular restaurant. Their next court date will likely be a preliminary examination. The prosecutor at this stage has the burden to prove to the court that there is probable cause that these crimes were committed and further probable cause that the couple charged in this case is who committed these crimes. If the District Court judge is satisfied that the probable cause burden has been met, then the case would be bound over to Macomb County Circuit Court for further proceedings and a potential trial. If the District Court judge is not satisfied that the probable cause burden has been met, then he or she can dismiss the case in its entirety.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

Contact Information