Sarasota restaurant owner pleads guilty to failing to provide information to the IRS


Date: July 10, 2023


Tampa, FL — United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Karl Knocker has pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to provide information to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as required by law relating to his income tax liability. Knocker faces a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement and information presented at the plea hearing, Knocker owned and managed a restaurant in Sarasota. Beginning at least as early as August 2013, Knocker and his partner and co-owner of the restaurant, Madeline Nikolson, instituted a scheme to defraud the IRS by removing the records of daily cash sales from point-of-sale registers at the restaurant, leaving the record to consist only of credit card sales. The owners kept the true record of their sales and income secret and did not disclose it to the IRS, as required by the Internal Revenue Code and regulations. The two restaurant owners provided this falsified record of sales income to tax preparers who prepared both their personal income tax returns and their corporate tax returns for tax years 2016, 2017, and 2018. As a result, they falsified and removed any reference to approximately $726,105 in sales income from their corporate and personal tax returns for those tax years, resulting in over $100,000 of taxes due and owing on those sums of unreported income.

Nikolson previously pleaded guilty for her role in this case. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 1, 2023.

This case was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.