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Famed Chinatown Chef Tony Hu Sentenced To 1 Year In Prison

By Stephen Gossett in News on Nov 18, 2016 10:24PM

Tony Hu /

Vaunted but legally-embattled chef Tony Hu was sentenced to a year in prison on Friday, the culmination of a long fraud investigation in which the famed restaurateur was found to have operated what prosecutors earlier this month called an “assembly line” of fraud. He faced a maximum of 51 months.

Hu was found guilty of concealing nearly $10 million in cash earnings, resulting in some $1 million in state taxes owed, the Tribune reports.

Tony “Mayor of Chinatown” Hu spearheaded an empire of more than a dozen Chinese restaurants, mostly in the Chicago region, including the iconic Lao Sze Chuan. But he pled guilty earlier this year to money laundering and wire fraud. He was fined $1.1 million as part of the deal. US District Judge Amy St. Eve fined Hu an additional $100,000 on Friday,

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ridgway wrote in a sentencing memo, according to the Trib:

"While (Hu) has for years held himself out as a model civic leader with appointments to some of the city's most powerful committees and charities, he was in fact cheating out state and city government, depriving them of precious funds at a time when vital social services faced drastic cuts.”

Earlier this month, the paper ran a detailed article about Hu’s criminal misconduct. The most alarming revelation: investigators discovered three distinct stacks of restaurant paperwork in Hu's home: forged, to-be-forged and to-be-shredded.