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Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 12:06 am

Uh-Oh

Manager of a favorite Obama eatery indicted

James Oh
PHOTO COURTESY SANGAMON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

 

James Oh, a restaurateur who once ran one of Barack Obama’s favorite eateries, has been indicted on five counts of filing false state sales and use tax returns, two counts of failure to file a state income tax return and one count of theft of government property. The theft of government property charge involves an amount of less than $500 that was supposed to have been withheld from someone’s pay, according to documents filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court that show Oh is also accused of filing false sales and use tax returns in 2012 and 2013. The total amount of money involved isn’t clear from court records. Oh has pleaded innocent to the charges filed in December and is free on $1,000 bond. “Mr. Oh has pleaded not guilty, and we will proceed accordingly,” said Daniel Noll, Oh’s lawyer.

Bentoh’s, a downtown restaurant run by Oh that Obama has said was one of his favorite places to eat in Springfield, closed last year. Oh owes more than $53,000 in taxes to the state Department of Revenue, according to a lien filed in the Sangamon County recorder’s office in 2014. Records in the recorder’s office also show that he owes more than $79,400 to IMS Capital Management, an Oregon investment company where he once worked as a portfolio manager. In 2002, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Oh, claiming that he had pocketed client funds while working as a portfolio manager. The case ended with Oh being barred from working in the investment industry. He was ordered to pay a $500,000 fine, the amount he was alleged to have wrongfully taken, but payment was waived because Oh made a sworn statement that he had no ability to pay.

Contact Bruce Rushton and brushton@illinoistimes.com.

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