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Falafel Place co-owner admits tax fraud

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The familiar face behind one of Winnipeg’s most popular restaurants has admitted to cooking the books in an attempt to boost his bottom line.

Emanuel (Ami) Hassan, the co-owner of Falafel Place on Corydon Avenue, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of tax evasion and one count of failing to remit GST.

He will be sentenced next week under a joint recommendation from lawyers, which calls for $68,000 in fines and payment of the outstanding money.

Crown attorney Jeremy Akerstream told court Hassan failed to report more than $325,000 in income between 2005 and 2007. The crime was discovered in 2008 during a detailed financial audit.

"The motivating factor was simply greed, wanting a bigger share of the pie and hoping he could get away with it," said Akerstream.

He said the Crown was originally considering requesting jail time based on "numerous false and deceptive" statements Hassan made to auditors. But they softened their position because Hassan has shown a "remarkable change in attitude" since his initial arrest.

Hassan was the sole owner of Falafal Place at the time of the incidents. He has since taken on a partner.

Hassan initially told auditors his 2007 business records were stolen from the back of a moving van when the restaurant moved from a previous location. He also claimed his children worked at the restaurant for free — even though auditors found regular deposits were being made to their bank accounts.

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