MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The former owner of several restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park has been sentenced to probation and house arrest after pleading guilty to 38 counts of filing false tax returns. Tom Pham, 45, underreported monthly taxable sales at his St. Louis Park restaurant, Thanh Do.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Regina Chu said Pham would avoid prison, but she wanted him to pay the money he owes the state. Pham was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered him to spend 365 days in the workhouse, which will alternatively be served on electronic home monitoring.
Pham must pay restitution of $130,858 for the taxes owed from November 2013 through December 2016 and penalty and interest. Pham also will have 39 felony convictions on his record including a 2016 conviction in Mille Lacs County for issuing a dishonored check.
Prosecutors argued for Pham to actually service his time in the workhouse, noting his alleged history of non-compliance with the state tax laws.
“Sales and use tax is a trust tax,” Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Sarah Stennes argued at the sentencing. “It is a tax on general retail sales paid by all Minnesotans and it’s the duty of merchants, such as Mr. Pham, to hold those funds in trust until they are remitted to the State of Minnesota. The revenue from sales and use tax benefit all residents of our state in the form of roads, bridges, schools, etc. In that sense, not just the Department of Revenue but also all the citizens of Minnesota were a victim here.”