OC Car Shop Owner, Auto-Body Baron, Found Guilty in $1M Tax Evasion Case

OC Car Shop Owner, Auto-Body Baron, Found Guilty in $1M Tax Evasion CaseSource: Unsplash/ engin akyurt
Juliette Kessler
Published on November 28, 2023

Car repair kingpin Chung Ku Sin, age 68, has owned up to the charges, pleading guilty to filing a false tax return that skimmed nearly $3 million off his taxable income, resulting in a nearly $1 million tax deficit for the United States, according to the mechanics of justice over at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Filings show that Sin "willfully and intentionally withheld from his tax preparer the business receipts and income" between 2015 and 2021. Operating Golden Auto Body, Tops Auto Body, and Victory Auto Body, Sin seemingly turned the cash register into a magician’s hat, making receipts disappear.

But the sleight of hand had a paper trail. Sin cashed checks at a Garden Grove check-cashing firm to the tune of $2,927,265—figures that never saw the light of day on his official tax filings. In a grand illusion of fiscal misdirection, in October 2017 alone, Sin filed a return claiming his income for the year was a modest $180,124, conveniently omitting an additional $580,351, according to prosecution details. That’s a lot of brake jobs and oil changes not accounted for.

An investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation led to Sin’s plea, where he acknowledged his maneuver to keep those funds off the books. Now, he’s promised to pay back the $977,807 tax hole he dug, with the government's penalties and interest on top, as per the plea agreement. And while Sin has yet to be sentenced, he's looking at a potential maximum of three years’ time in the federal big house, with the sentencing slated for May 10, 2024, by District Judge John W. Holcomb.