Michigan restaurant and strip club owner sentenced to two years in prison for tax crimes


Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

Date: January 5, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

A Walled Lake, Michigan, business owner was sentenced today to two years in prison.

According to court statements and filings, Johni Semma owned Bayside Sports Bar & Grill (Bayside) and The Coliseum, an adult entertainment business. As the owner of Bayside, Semma was responsible for collecting and paying to the IRS Bayside's employment taxes. From the first quarter of 2008 through the first quarter of 2015, however, Semma timely filed only two employment tax returns with the IRS, despite being obligated to file 29 such returns during this period. He also did not pay approximately $1.3 million in employment taxes that were due.

In 2012, Semma sold The Coliseum for approximately $5.9 million, but did not file an individual income tax return or pay taxes for that year. As a result he caused an additional tax loss of approximately $463,000 to the IRS.

Semma previously pleaded guilty on Aug. 28, 2019, to one count of employment tax fraud and one count of failure to file his individual income tax return.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Court Judge Paul D. Borman ordered Semma to pay $1,793,771 in restitution to the IRS.

Special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Kenneth Vert and Brittney Campbell prosecuted the case.