CLEARFIELD – A Hollidaysburg couple is facing charges for not paying over $60,000 in sales tax for their restaurant.
Sabrina L. Saldana, 36, and Armando Mendoza Saldana, 47, were both charged in late October with seven felony counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds by agents of the attorney general’s office. They were scheduled for preliminary hearings on Wednesday in Clearfield County Court.
The charges stem from their business activity from Jan. 20, 2016 to July 20, 2017 at their Mexican restaurant, Salsa’s Mexican Grill in Philipsburg.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Sabrina Saldana owned 85% of the business while her father was a silent partner with 15% ownership. She ran the business with her husband, Armando Saldana who was listed as the co-operator.
Records reportedly indicate that a total of $61,866.32 in sales tax that was collected during the fourth quarter of 2015 through the second quarter of 2017 was not paid.
The restaurants were under the name Salsa’s Mexican Grill II, LLP and involved three locations: Philipsburg, Columbia in Lancaster County and Annville in Lebanon County.
It was discovered that Sabrina Saldana previously owned and operated Salsa’s Mexican Grill, Inc. in Bedford which also had a sales tax liability.
Later she had a business known as Salsa’s Mexican Grill III, LLC for a mobile lunch truck in Hollidaysburg.
Initially with Salsa’s Mexican Grill II, LLP, an accountant filed the sales tax payments. This ended after the second quarter of 2016.
This accountant told investigators that she “instructed the Saldanas that they were required to make the tax payments.”
Instead the couple allegedly used the sales tax money to pay other expenses for the restaurants and for personal bills.
When Armando Saldana was interviewed in Oct. 2018, he reportedly admitted that the couple was responsible for submitting the sales tax forms and funds and that they decided to use the money for other things.
He also stated that he was unaware that it was a criminal offense to not file the forms and pay in a timely manner.
Armando Saldana told investigators that after the accountant was no longer responsible for paying the sales tax, she continued to advise them to pay the taxes but they refused to listen to her advice because they did not have the money.
Both Sabrina and Armando Saldana waived their rights to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court, sending the cases onto the court of common pleas for further disposition.
They are each free on $50,000 unsecured bail.