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Restaurateur Indicted on Tax Charge

April 14, 1993

SAN CLEMENTE — The owner of a Mexican restaurant belonging to a family chain was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury for allegedly failing to file individual income tax returns and making false statements to a federally insured savings and loan association, officials said.

Salvador Avila-Cerda of San Clemente, who owns the El Ranchito Mexican Restaurant in Laguna Hills, was charged in Los Angeles on five counts, said Judith Golden, a spokeswoman for the Internal Revenue Service.

The Avila family owns at least five El Ranchito Mexican Restaurants in Orange County and Long Beach.

Assistant U.S. Atty. John Carlton said Avila was charged with three counts of failing to file federal individual income tax returns from 1986 to 1988, though he made enough money to require filing returns in those years.

There is no dollar amount attached to the case because it deals with failure to file, Golden said.

The remaining two counts charged that Avila, in two separate loan applications, presented false copies of federal tax returns that supposedly had been filed with the IRS to the Hawthorne Savings & Loan Assn. offices in Mission Viejo, said Carlton, who is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the maximum penalty under federal law for Avila is one year of prison and a $100,000 fine for the tax offenses and five years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine on the false statements to the bank, according to the press release.

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