MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The owner of a now-defunct Minneapolis restaurant was charged Wednesday with 68 counts of failing to pay sales tax and filing fraudulent and false tax returns.

According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, 46-year-old Michael Ralph Whitelaw underreported sales by more than $1 million, and he underpaid tax by $100,000.

Whitelaw, of Eagan, owned Social House, along with his Food Group Holdings LLC. He is the corporate officer and managing member of the group.

The restaurant, which was located on the 2900 block of Hennepin Avenue, closed this summer.

The complaint says Whitelaw is accused of filing fraudulent returns between 2009 and 2011. He was audited by the IRS before 2009 for failing to correctly file tax returns and paying the right amount of income tax.

Investigators say Whitelaw currently owes $171,391 in sales taxes, penalties and interest.

He was charged by summons, and his first court appearance has not been set.


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