John Worthington, owner of The Grill at Harryman House restaurant in Reisterstown, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal tax charges.

According to the Department of Justice, Worthington admitted that he failed to pay at least $2.8 million in employment taxes over an 11-year span. Initial charges stated that he had failed to pay $1.5 million.

Worthington withheld federal income taxes as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes from his employees’ wages from 2010 through 2021, but kept the money for himself, according to a DOJ release. He used the funds to cover personal expenses, including golf club membership dues, season tickets to the Baltimore Orioles, pay for international vacations, and to cover the salaries for himself and his wife, the DOJ said.

Worthington, who lives in Owings Mills, also falsely claimed in a 2016 personal tax return to have paid more than $24,000 in federal income tax withholdings from his own pay, which allowed him to receive a refund of over $9,000. In fact, he owed more than $15,000.

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The restaurateur also admitted that he failed to file his personal income taxes on time from 2017 through 2021, as well as corporate tax returns from 2016 through 2021, a time during which his restaurant generated revenue of more than $15 million.

Worthington faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the employment tax charges plus three years in prison for filing a false tax return. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 13.

Christina Tkacik is the food reporter for The Baltimore Banner. A former Baltimore Sun reporter, she has covered the city's dining scene as well as crime and politics. 

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