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Report: Local restaurant operator charged with fraud

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The Chicago Tribune posted an online report Friday that celebrity chef Tony Hu, whose Tony Gourmet Group runs Evanston’s Lao Sze Chuan restaurant, was charged in federal court with intentionally withholding state taxes by underreporting receipts paid in cash.

The Evanston outpost of the chain, at 1633 Orrington Ave., opened in 2014. Hu has received a number of awards for his authentic Sichaun cuisine.

The Tribune report said that Hu, whose full name is Hu Xiaojun, 48, was charged with one count each of wire fraud and money laundering and is to be arraigned at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse at an unspecified date.

Photo of Chef Hu from the restaurant's website

The Evanston restaurant is one of 11 operated by the company, mostly in the Chicago metropolitan area. The report said that federal agents executed search warrants at several of Hu’s restaurants in the Chinatown area of Chicago in October 2014.


Update 5/17/16: Hu pleaded guilty Monday to underreporting gross sales by more than $9 million and dodging more than $1 million in Illinois taxes.

The Sun-Times reports he's expected to be sentenced to between 41 and 51 months in prison. His attorney said the case  is not expected to affect the operation of Hu’s restaurants.

Charles Bartling

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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