Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - A $3 million bond will stay in place for the owner of Acapulco Mexican Restaurants across southeast Indiana.
The restaurants were raided in September by Indiana Excise Police for an investigation of the owners’ alleged failure to report cash sales of $4.4 million from 2008 through 2012, allowing them to dodge sales taxes of more than $305,000.
Adolfo Lopez, of Greendale, owned or co-owned many of the locations in Dearborn, Ripley, and Ohio counties. His request to Dearborn Circuit Court Judge James Humphrey for a lower bond was denied, according to court records filed November 21.
During a bond hearing held on November 15, Lopez’ defense attorney Doug Garner had argued for a lower bond because of his family and business ties to the area. The 43-year-old has been a U.S. citizen for 15 years and has lived in Lawrenceburg with his wife and children for approximately seven to eight years. Lopez is noted as the owner of 11 restaurants in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.
Three former employees of Acapulco’s Mexican Restaurants testified at the bond hearing on behalf of the State. They said that employees were not paid salaries, working merely on tips. They were allegedly required to work six days a week, ten hours per day.
Those employees also alleged that Lopez arranged for fake social security numbers, according to the court record. They said Lopez threatened employees and urged them to lie during a investigation by the Indiana Department of Labor.
Lopez had also allegedly arranged for “coyotes,” or people to bring immigrants into the U.S. to staff the restaurants. Lopez also made frequent visits to Mexico and maintained ties in the country, the former employees told the court.
Officer Timothy Sutton with the Indiana Excise Police testified that more than $3 million in cash was seized from six safety deposit boxes belonging to Lopez.
In his ruling, Judge Humphrey noted that the case presents “an unusual set of circumstances indicating a substantial likelihood of non-appearance for future proceedings” and that Lopez is a substantial flight risk if he were to bond out of jail.
Lopez remains in jail at the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center awaiting his trial on charges of Corrupt Business Influence, Conspiracy to Commit Corrupt Business Influence, Forgery, Perjury, and Identity Deception.
Meanwhile, Lopez’ wife, Maria Lopez, is continuing to run the Lawrenceburg restaurant which reopened earlier this month. She was among the dozens of people arrested in the September restaurant raids.
According to information from the excise police investigation, Adolfo Lopez solely owns the restaurants in Lawrenceburg, Aurora, and Rising Sun. Adolfo Lopez, Benito Lopez of Batesville, and Abel Bustos of Lafayette, Indiana, all share ownership of the Batesville and Versailles locations. Maria Visoso, of Lawrenceburg, was also listed as a part-owner in Versailles.