The former owner of Ames Main Street restaurants and bars was sentenced Tuesday in federal court for failing to pay employment taxes.
Scott Griffen was sentenced to four months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, his attorney, Holly Logan, said. He must also pay restitution, the amount of which was not immediately available.
Story County District Court sentenced Griffen to three years probation in May for multiple state offenses, including making false or fraudulent tax deposit forms and willfully failing to pay at least 90% of his taxes. He was also ordered to pay $162,628.55 in restitution to the State of Iowa.
The now-closed Olde Main restaurant and brewery was located on Main Street in Ames. (Photo: Ames Tribune file photo)
His initial charges of first-degree fraudulent practice, sales tax violation, sales tax evasion and ongoing criminal conduct could have amounted to 41 years in prison.
Griffen’s sentencing memorandum delved into childhood abuse, a learning disability and his close relationship with his daughter, Zoey Riordan. The ownership of Griffen’s bars was transferred to Riordan.
“Mr. Griffen understands and appreciates the sentence,” Logan said, adding he’s ready to repay his debt to society.
Griffen owned the now-closed restaurant and brewery, Olde Main Brewing Company, and two Main Street bars, DG’s Tap House and Corner Pocket.
On May 3, 2019, Griffen shut down all three establishments in downtown Ames a few days after accepting a six-month suspension and voluntary surrender of his liquor licenses.
The suspension came after Griffen “failed to maintain the requisite good moral character required to hold an alcohol license, in particular a lack of good financial standing,” according to the Alcoholic Beverages Division.
The ABD and Iowa Department of Public Safety investigated Griffen’s business dealings and found he “owed substantial amounts of sales tax, withholding tax and associated penalties to the Iowa Department of Revenue.”
Read or Share this story: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2020/08/25/former-olde-main-owner-sentenced-federal-court-tax-evasion/3435093001/