El Rodeo, El Jaripeo owners sentenced after pleading guilty

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INDIANAPOLIS (March 2, 2015) – Three restaurant owners charged with theft after failing to report millions of dollars in sales pleaded guilty in court Monday and learned their sentences.

Jose Melendez, Abel Bustos, and Franciso Salgado–the owners of El Rodeo and El Jaripeo restaurants located around the state–took plea deals in the case. As a result, Salgado and Melendez were sentenced to 10 years, including two years on home detention and eight years suspended. Both pleaded guilty to ten counts of theft. Bustos, who pleaded guilty to two counts of theft, was sentenced to two years, including one year on home detention with one year suspended. All three will serve one year of probation and pay restitution under the terms of the plea deal.

Authorities raided restaurant locations around the state in 2013 as part of a wide-ranging investigation. The operation included 26 restaurants in Boone, Clinton, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan, Tippecanoe and Wayne counties. The trio was accused of underreporting nearly $23 million in sales and agreed to forfeit more than $4.5 million to state and local authorities. The money will go to the Indiana Department of Revenue for unpaid sales tax and unpaid food and beverage tax.