Mad Rooster owner pleads guilty to defrauding IRS
No changes to planned Waukesha location expected

By Chris Bucher - Freeman Staff

July 30, 2016


WAUKESHA - The federal conviction this week of the owner of the Mad Rooster Cafe planned for the former Hardee’s site downtown won’t impact the project from the city’s perspective, Mayor Shawn Reilly said Friday.

Reilly said the conviction won’t play a role in the addition of Mad Rooster to the city.

“If it impacts their plans, it would impact it from their end,” Reilly said. “The city can’t not approve the building because someone is convicted. (The Plan Commission) is looking at the building and the business. Whether there’s a conviction or not isn’t our area.”

Andreas Bouraxis, owner of the Mad Rooster Cafe, admitted conspiring to defraud the United States by impeding the Internal Revenue Service in connection with operation of his family’s three restaurants in the Milwaukee area, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced this week.

The guilty plea occurred the same day Mad Rooster gained final approval to construct a restaurant at 130 N.W. Barstow Street from the Waukesha Plan Commission.

As part of the agreement, it’s been recommended Bouraxis be sentenced to one year and one day in prison, though there is a possible penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or both, according to court documents.

Calls to Bouraxis and his lawyer, Michael Cohn, were not returned by press time.

Bouraxis was indicted alongside his father, Paul, his mother, Freida, and his brother-in-law Reiad Awadallah by U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad.

Federal online court records indicate the Bouraxises entered plea deals earlier this week. Awadalleh’s case remains pending.

Skimming cash from restaurants’ receipts

The four were actively involved in skimming cash from the receipts at three of their family-owned restaurants — Omega Burger, El Fuego and El Beso, all located in Milwaukee — to the total of more than $3 million, court documents stated.

According to the documents, the four defendants created records for each of the restaurants that didn’t include the cash receipts they had skimmed from their business while also paying additional wages to employees in cash, and failing to account for the payroll taxes associated with them. The family underpaid the IRS by more than $1.3 million from 2007-10, court documents disclosed.

Paul Bouraxis, heading the operation of all the family restaurants, directed his sister V.A., the manager at El Fuego and El Beso, to set aside $5,000 to $10,000 in cash from the weekly receipts at El Beso into a desk drawer. She was also directed to put aside $3,000 in cash from Omega Burger, having Freida pick up the money weekly.

Federal agents began an investigation of the restaurants in 2011, obtaining search warrants in 2012. In September 2012, agents located and seized more than $1.7 million in cash, silver bars worth about $100,000, jewelry and handwritten records detailing the actual daily receipts for the restaurants.

Reilly said he was displeased with the news of the conviction, but doesn’t foresee any delay in Mad Rooster opening in Waukesha.

“Obviously it’s not something that’s good news,” Reilly said. “But I’m assuming their restaurants will continue and they will have other people running them if there is jail time.”

Upon pleading guilty, the Bouraxis family agreed to forfeit $442,000 of the funds seized by agents to the United States, while sale of the seized silver bars and jewelry will be applied to their taxes owed to the IRS.