NHP man who owned NYC restaurant sentenced to prison for evading tax payments

Robert Pelaez
A New Hyde Park man and former owner of a New York City restaurant was sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty for tax evasion in January, according to officials. (Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice)

A New Hyde Park man who owned a former New York City restaurant was sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to evading his federal taxes.

Adel Kellel, a 63-year-old New Hyde Park resident who owned Raffles Bistro was sentenced to two years in prison after admitting he avoided paying around $770,000 in taxes to the IRS and the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance on Monday, according to officials. Kelell admitted in January that he did not pay his taxes for a span of five years from 2011-2015, according to officials.

“Adel Kellel cooked his books to conceal income from the IRS and his own accountants,”  Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York said. “He spent the ill-gotten gains on personal luxuries like a Mercedes, a Porsche, and a Maserati. Now he will spend two years in federal prison.”

In 2011, according to officials, Kellel was the president and 45-percent owner of K&H Restaurant Inc., which oversaw Raffles Bistro which was, at the time, located in a Manhatten hotel. Over the next four years until 2015, Kellel was a 100 percent owner of K&H.

Officials found that Kellel diverted more than 150 hotel checks totaling $2.1 million and hid the receipts from his accounts and the IRS by depositing the checks into more than a dozen of undisclosed bank accounts.

The bank accounts were either personal ones in Kellel’s name or joint accounts he shared with his wife and accounts connected to K&H Restaurant Inc.

“All taxpayers have an obligation to honestly report their income and pay their share of taxes,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “For those who attempt to avoid these obligations and cheat the IRS, as this sentence shows, there are serious consequences.”

Officials said Killel also rerouted “substantial cash income” received from Raffles’ customers for his own personal purchases which included college tuition payment for his children, a Mercedes, a Porsche, a Maserati, and domestic and international travel.

“The accurate reporting of income is an important responsibility of all business professionals,” IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen said. “In this case, Adel Kellel attempted to evade his taxes by diverting funds for personal use and failing to report substantial gross receipts. IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to serve the American taxpayer by investigating individuals who hide their true income from the IRS.”

In addition to his 24-month sentencing, the court also ordered Kellel to pay restitution of more than $610,000 to the IRS and more than $150,000 to the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance, officials said. Kellel was additionally ordered to serve three years of supervised release after completing his two-year sentence in federal prison.

Efforts to reach Kellel’s attorney for comment were unavailing.

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Robert Pelaez

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