Bellevue restaurant owner charged with using software to duck almost $400K in taxes

SEATTLE — A Bellevue restaurant owner is charged on suspicion of hiding sales and avoiding taxes amounting to about $395,000.

The Seattle Times reports the state attorney general filed charges against Yu-Ling Wong, who is the majority owner of Taiwanese restaurant Facing East.

Auditors noticed lower-than-normal cash sales during a routine examination of the company's tax returns from 2010 to 2013.

Wong faces charges of theft, unlawful use of sales-suppression software and filing false tax returns.

Investigators say she told them she used a USB drive containing software that deleted sales.

Officials say the programs can run on cash registers and surreptitiously erase certain transactions.

The software then  re-balances the company's records to lower the tax burden.

Money from the sales tax on deleted transactions is pocketed.

Sales-suppression software is illegal to use or possess in Washington.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said this may be the first criminal case targeting sales-suppression software in the nation.