Friday, November 26, 2021

Gladys Knight’s son went to jail over restaurant taxes

ATLANTA (AP) – The son of R&B legend Gladys Knight has been sentenced to two years in prison for failing to pay payroll taxes at restaurants named after his mother, Atlanta federal attorneys said.

Sanga Hankerson opened his first Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles restaurant in Atlanta in 1997. Over the next few years, he opened at least three more restaurants in Georgia and Washington DC.

Hankerson, 45, “has deliberately neglected his tax obligations for years,” Acting US Attorney Kurt Erskine said in a press release. During Wednesday’s sentencing, Hankerson, who pleaded guilty in July, was also ordered to serve a year under supervision after being in jail and pay more than $ 1 million in compensation.

He was the sole owner of the business and had to withhold payroll taxes from the gross wages of his employees. From at least 2012 to 2016, Hankerson was unable to donate more than $ 1 million in payroll taxes, according to prosecutors.

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“While owning a well-known restaurant in our community has its benefits, it also comes with a lot of responsibility,” said James Dorsey, IRS Special Agent for Criminal Investigations. “Paying taxes is a way to give money back to the community, but unfortunately Hankerson chose to use the funds for other purposes.”

In 2017, Knight won a lawsuit over breaking ties with the business, and her son was ordered to stop using her name, looks, and memorabilia, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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