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Nov 27, 2012 6:26 PM

Chuy's accountant sentenced; expected to testify against owners

TUCSON - One of three Chuy's executives arrested in April after a lengthy federal investigation was sentenced this morning after taking a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

Chuy's accountant Diane Ingred Strehlow was arrested on April 20 along with franchise owners Mark Evenson and his son Christopher Evenson, and charged with 19 counts.

The indictment claimed that they knowingly hired illegal immigrants, paid them in crash, and made $400,000 in profit by not paying the taxes and other costs associated with proper employment.

In August 2012, Strehlow pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the indictment, charging her with conspiracy to impede and impair the functions of the Internal Revenue Service.

She was sentenced to one year of probation this morning, and will be required to perform 20 hours of community service per month, according to IRS officials. She is expected to testify if the Evensons go to trial in April 2013.

"The government pointed out that she cooperated early in the investigation and provided helpful information to the investigating agents," stated IRS Special Agent Brian Watson.

If convicted, the owners each face more than 80 years in prison, and they could each be fined more than $5 million.

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