Oshima Sushi in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Oshima Sushi in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Everett, Lynnwood sushi restaurant owner gets prison for tax evasion

Si Yong Kim was convicted in federal court for underreporting earnings by $1.7 million. He must spend 10 months behind bars.

LYNNWOOD — A Snohomish County sushi restaurant owner who failed to report $1.7 million in income was sentenced this week to 10 months in federal prison.

Using a “double set of books,” Si Yong Kim provided the Internal Revenue Service false earnings from Oshima Sushi in Lynnwood and Everett, resulting in $511,750 in lost taxes, according to charges filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

At his sentencing, Kim’s defense attorney Harold Malkin reportedly said his client had sold the popular sushi business in Everett. Malkin did not immediately return a Daily Herald reporter’s phone call to confirm Thursday afternoon.

In October, Kim entered a plea agreement for one count of federal tax evasion. The standard sentence for the crime was 12 to 18 months, court documents say.

“My husband of 12 years has always been loyal, hardworking, and kind,” his wife Karen Kim wrote in a letter to the court. “Not only he never disappointed me, but he did his best to be the family’s pillar of strength and love.”

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart handed down a sentence outside of the guideline, along with a $10,000 fine.

“Our tax system operates on an honor system where we expect our taxpayers to pay their fair share,” Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman said in a press release this week. “In this case, Mr. Kim didn’t cheat to keep his restaurants afloat, rather he used the money that should have gone to taxes for expensive watches, designer shoes and accessories, and jewelry.”

Kim had no prior criminal history.

Born in South Korea, Kim and his family immigrated to California when he was 6 years old, court documents say. He worked as a busser at a Japanese restaurant in his mid-20s. Eventually he was promoted to sushi chef.

In July 2012, Kim opened Oshima Sushi inside H Mart food court at 3301 184th St. SW. A second location opened a year later at 11108 Evergreen Way.

Customers on Yelp list Oshima as their “go-to” place for sushi in Everett, praising the restaurant’s three special rolls for $30 deal.

Over the past decade, Kim held an active role in the day-to-day operations and bookkeeping, according to the charges. Both of his establishments were listed under “Si Joy Inc” in federal court documents.

At both restaurants, Kim kept one set of books in which he accurately reported daily expenses, cash receipts, credit card receipts and tips. The restaurant owner would then write a “CPA number” next to the accurate figures, omitting all cash receipts and understating credit card receipts by thousands of dollars, the charges say.

He deposited earnings into three personal accounts, and the rest went into a safe deposit box, prosecutors alleged. The money was partly used to finance properties in Georgia and Mukilteo.

Between 2016 and 2020, Kim gave his tax preparer false earnings each month to provide to the IRS.

The court recommended Kim serve his time at the federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon, according to court documents.

An employee at the Everett location, reached by phone Wednesday, could not confirm if the restaurant had new ownership. An employee in Lynnwood said there was no new ownership.

This week, both establishments were open.

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Fraudulent 1999 Pokémon cards Iosif “Joe” Bondarchuk and Anthony Curcio sold to an undercover law enforcement purchaser in July 2023. (Photo provided by the DOJ USAO Southern District of New York)
Counterfeit Pokémon cards, a $2M scheme, and a getaway by inner tube

It was the latest stranger-than-fiction caper tied to ex-Monroe star athlete Anthony Curcio, accused of forging mint grades for rare cards.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Lynnwood
Suspected DUI crash injures trooper on I-5 north in Lynnwood

WSP spokesperson said two suspected impaired drivers have crashed into a state trooper in the past 24 hours.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Police: Man shot at ex-girlfriend, child in Mountlake Terrace apartment

Officers were investigating the Seattle man, 22, for first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and third-degree malicious mischief.

Former President Donald Trump exits the courthouse after being found guilty of all counts in his criminal trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York, on Thursday, May 30, 2024. Trump has been convicted of falsifying records to cover up a sex scandal that threatened his ascent to the White House in 2016, part of a scheme that prosecutors described as a fraud on the American people. He is the first American president to be declared a felon. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Trump convicted on all counts to become America’s first felon president

Twelve New Yorkers delivered their verdict in the case against Donald J. Trump. He was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with a payment to a porn star.

A "for sale" sign is posted outside Mountain Loop Mine’s Everett Aggregate Yard on Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
After months of controversy, mine’s Everett gravel yard is for sale

In April, a county judge ordered OMA Construction to stop all work, next door to Fairmount Elementary School. Now, the yard is on the market.

Traffic moves along Highway 526 in front of Boeing’s Everett Production Facility on Nov. 28, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Boeing agrees to pay over $11.5M in back pay to employees

Nearly 500 workers received back wages, in what Washington regulators call the largest-ever settlement of its kind in state history.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 closure between Everett and Marysville delayed by weather

The key alternative route to I-5 was slated to be fully closed overnight Saturday. Now, June 8 is being circled as the date.

Benson Boone (Photo provided by AEG Presents)
Taylor Swift taps Monroe HS grad Benson Boone to open London show

Boone, 21, has become a global pop star since his “American Idol” stint in 2021. “Beautiful Things” is the biggest song in the world.

News logo for use with stories about Mill Creek in Snohomish County, WA.
Mill Creek man accused of crashing into taxi in Seattle, killing woman

King County prosecutors charged Aboubacarr Singhateh with vehicular homicide and three counts of vehicular assault.

Grayson Huff, left, a 4th grader at Pinewood Elementary, peeks around his sign during the Marysville School District budget presentation on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State OKs Marysville plan with schools, jobs on chopping block

The revised plan would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and two schools — still to be identified — in a school district staring down a budget crunch.

The Trestle’s junction with I-5 is under evaluation (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Here’s your chance to give feedback on the US 2 trestle and its future

Often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and on shaky ground? So is the trestle. A new $17 million study seeks solutions for the route east of Everett.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.