Federal prosecutors have charged a Reisterstown restaurant owner with failing to pay $1.5 million in taxes and diverting business funds for his personal use.

John Worthington, who has been the sole owner of The Grill at Harryman House at 340 Main St. since 1995, faces two counts of tax-related charges after he “knowingly engaged in a scheme to fraudulently underreport wages” paid to the restaurant’s employees, according to charging documents filed this week.

Worthington is accused of using the restaurant’s funds to pay himself and his wife, his home mortgage payment, his golf membership dues, and to cover college tuition for his children, all to the tune of thousands of dollars. At the same time, court documents allege he failed to pay $1.5 million in taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes that were withheld from his employees’ paychecks.

Reached at the restaurant, Worthington referred questions to his attorney, David Polashuk, who declined to comment.

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Officials say Worthington didn’t file his tax returns from 2017 to 2021, a time during which the restaurant generated at least $15 million in sales. And in 2016, the last year that he filed, he provided his accountant with “false, misleading and incomplete information,” according to the charges. In his tax return, he claimed to have paid more than $24,000; in reality, he paid nothing in taxes that year.

christina.tkacik@thebaltimorebanner.com

Christina Tkacik is the food reporter for The Baltimore Banner.

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