PLYMOUTH — A Plymouth man will spend the next year on house arrest after pleading guilty to 38 counts of filing false tax returns, according to a June 21 Hennepin County Attorney’s Office news release.

Thomas Pham, 45, was charged with 38 counts of filing false tax returns on his St. Louis Park restaurant Thanh Do after underreporting taxable sales for three years, the release stated.

Pham was sentenced to probation for five years and 365 days on electronic home monitoring. Pham will be able to go to work, home and required appointments. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the state of $130,058 for the taxes he owes from November 2013 through December 2016, the release says.

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Sarah Stennes argued that Pham should serve his 365 days in the workhouse. Stennes said at Pham’s sentencing that he has a history of non-compliance with state tax laws.

“Sales and use tax is a trust tax,” Stennes said, during Pham’s sentencing, according to the news release. “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.”

The Minnesota Department of Revenue (MNDOR) first received a complaint about Pham in July 2016. MNDOR executed several search warrants in July 2017, finding proof Pham had underreported taxable sales significantly from November 2013 through December 2016, the complaint says.

Pham admitted to MNDOR, according to the complaint, that “his strength was in creating and that he knew he needed to stay away from the financial and money side of the business.”

Frances Stevenson is a reporter for the Lakeshore Weekly News, covering the communities around Lake Minnetonka.

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