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Echo Park vintage store owner heads to prison after failing to report nearly $4 million to I.R.S.

AS American VIntage store in Echo Park

Echo Park  — The owner of a chain of vintage stores, including one on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, has been sentenced to one year plus a day in federal prison after prosecutors said he hid nearly $4 million in income from the I.R.S.

Jose Martin Andrade Flores, owner of  American Superior Used Clothing, will also have to pay a $10,000 fine imposed Monday by  the U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Los Angeles office.

American Superior purchased used clothing and would sell it wholesale worldwide and locally at the Rose Bowl swap meets, sidewalk locations in East Los Angeles and retail stores on Melrose Boulevard, Hollywood, Echo Park and Pasadena. The store in Echo Park — AS American Vintage — operates at 1707 Sunset Blvd, said U.S. Attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek.

Authorities began investigating  Flores after he advertised his company for sale on BizBuySell.com and said it made $4 million in revenue — or twice what he reported to the I.R.S, said the U.S. Department of Justice.  He later told prospective buyers that he was reporting only enough income to make it appear that he was only breaking even, according to prosecutors.

“There is no better business than this business,” Flores told prospective buyers, according to court documents. “When you report, you can always break even. It’s a recycling business. They won’t touch you.”

From 2012 through 2016, Flores concealed from his corporate tax preparer cash sales and deposits into foreign bank accounts that were made on behalf of American Superior. As a result, the tax returns he filed for American Superior for those five years failed to report a total of $3.966 million in income.

In September, Flores specifically pleaded guilty to filing a false corporate income tax return form in 2013. He agreed agreed to pay all back taxes, interest and penalties as part of the plea deal.

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