Ukiah Restaurateur Pleads Guilty to Hiring Illegals and Underpaying Employees

Press release from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California:

US Department of JusticeA Ukiah restaurateur pleaded guilty August 17 to corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the due administration of the internal revenue laws and to harboring illegal aliens for profit, announced U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, Special Agent in Charge Ryan Spradlin of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

Yaowapha Ritdet, 54, admitted that she knowingly hired Thai nationals who were illegally present in the United States to work at her restaurants, Ruen Tong Thai Cuisine and Walter Café, both located in Ukiah.  Ritdet further admitted that she underpaid employees and instructed them not to speak to anyone about their immigration status. Ritdet also admitted that she willfully filed false individual income tax returns for tax years 2007 through 2011, failing to disclose gross receipts, sales and income received from their two restaurants, as well as rental income and a foreign bank account and failed to accurately report employment taxes owed for her restaurant employees, who were paid in cash.

The guilty plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen.  The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7212 is three years’ imprisonment and $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the criminal activity.  The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of 8 U. S. C. § 1324(a)(1) is 10 years’ imprisonment and $250,000, or twice the gain or loss resulting from the criminal activity. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Ritdet is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Chen on Feb. 22, 2017.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch commended special agents of IRS-CI and HSI, who investigated the case; the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, which identified the underpayment of wages and overtime; and Trial Attorney Charles A. O’Reilly of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose A. Olivera, who are prosecuting the case.



  • That place serve really good Thai food, hope they survive this. IRS can wipe out anyone that they want. All of you “registered” growers should keep a weather eye out for them.

  • He should have been prosecuted for really bad music played during meals.
    It got so bad I refused to eat there anymore, and the Thai food was really good.

    • The food tasted “good” because it was loaded with MSG, even thought the menus clearly stated at the top that they did not use MSG. The last few times I went a friend would tell them that they were severely allergic to MSG, so they needed to make sure there wasn’t any in the food. Well, turns out, all the curries come pre-made with MSG, so they couldn’t omit it and it was said from someone who worked in the kitchen that they loaded most dishes with the stuff. Hope her indentured servants find a better way to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • And here I thought ca was a Sanctuary state. I guess nobody gets quarter when they take money from the federal government. Unless of course you’re a government “official”.

  • It sounds like she has a future in big marijuana.

  • Dyerville Loop is Not Alderpoint

    And some of you might have had the idea that John Brown brought about the end of slavery in the U.S….. John who ya sey? All jokes aside ,slavery is live and well,as are a hole lot of his great great great great great grand children… Right here in So Humm.

  • The illegals were happy to get the work, the owner was happy to get cheap labor. But the county government was sad it did not have its fingers in the pie also.
    government sucks

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