San Diego Restaurateur Indicted By Federal Grand Jury For Multitude Of Fraud Charges

February 2, 2024

A San Diego restauranteur was indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges including wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.

According to the indictment, Leronce Suel was the majority owner of Rockstar Dough LLC and Chicken Feed LLC, both of which operated a series of restaurants in the San Diego area, including ShotCaller Street Soul Food in Lincoln Park, StreetCar Merchants Chicken Bar in North Park, and Suckerfree Southern Plate & BBQ in the Gaslamp Quarter. He allegedly conspired with his business partner to underreport the $1.7 million in gross receipts on Rockstar Dough LLC’s 2020 corporate tax return filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

The indictment alleges that from March 2020 to June 2022, Suel and his business partner conspired to use the false corporate tax return for tax year 2020 to qualify for the COVID-related Paycheck Protection Program and Restaurant Revitalization Funding loans. Suel also made materially false certifications on loan applications regarding the use of the money. The indictment charges that Suel and his business partner made substantial cash withdrawals from their business bank accounts to launder the fraudulently obtained funds. As part of the conspiracy, Suel and his business partner allegedly concealed more than $2.4 million in cash at their residence.

The indictment further alleges that Suel also failed to report personal income he received from his businesses, including millions of dollars in cash and personal expenses paid by his businesses. Suel allegedly failed to timely file his individual tax returns for tax year 2018 and 2019 and evaded his individual income taxes for tax year 2020. The indictment alleges that in 2023, Suel filed original and amended tax returns that included false depreciable assets and business losses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Beeler of the Southern District of California and Trial Attorney Julia Rugg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case. Charges include wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States, tax evasion, filing a false tax return, and failure to file a tax return, in which he faces more than thirty years in prison if convicted.