Box of trouble

Owner of fast food franchises pleads to state charges

The owner of the downtown Chico Jack in the Box pleaded no contest Nov. 5 to a felony count of grand theft and two misdemeanor counts of misappropriation of sales tax and nonpayment of unemployment insurance, according to the California State Board of Equalization. Abolghassem Alizadeh owns 71 Jack in the Box restaurants in Northern California.

Alizadeh, 54, reportedly diverted sales- and employee-payroll-tax dollars to his business and personal interests and in doing so failed to pay more than $5.4 million in sales tax and nearly $1.8 million to the state unemployment office.

A plea agreement allows for Alizadeh to repay the state in full over the next four years and receive three years of probation. Failure to do so means up to four years and four months in state prison.