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El Balazo restaurant couple sentenced for tax evasion, other charges

Original post made on Apr 26, 2012

Marino Sandoval and his wife Nicole, the Pleasanton couple who owned and ran the El Balazo restaurants in Pleasanton, Danville, San Ramon and in three additional East Bay locations, were sentenced Tuesday for immigration, Social Security and tax charges connected to their restaurants.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 26, 2012, 3:16 PM

Comments (24)

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Posted by Sue
a resident of Valley Trails
on Apr 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Interesting how nobody has mentioned that Marino Sandoval purchased Mama Rosa in Pleasanton for his son to run. While they were getting the restaurant ready to open there were El Balazo trucks in the parking lot bringing in merchandise. I believe they employ illegals as well.

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Posted by TJC
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 26, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Whether legal or illegal folks worked there...the food is always good! I hope they stay open

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Posted by Pleasanton Neighbor
a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Apr 27, 2012 at 8:34 am

We need more of this. The only way we are going to recover as a country is through LEGAL jobs for LEGAL citizens.
My Mother came in as a legal immigrant. And when she came, she never went on the government for welfare or any kind of support. She also learned English and did not expect forms and signage to be changed for her.
My father's parents were also LEGAL immigrants. They learned English and were proud to be American.

Actually we should make Mexico part of the United States. Add those states to ours. Why not? They are all coming here for what we have...We would then have thousands of jobs setting up infrastructure and schools, roads...may end the drug cartels too?

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Posted by A Proud Mexican-American
a resident of Country Fair
on Apr 27, 2012 at 8:47 am

I am throughly ashamed and disqusted that these two people could
sink so low as to cheat this land of ours, not only the United States but their own people as well.

The owners of El Balazo just got their hands slapped..what a shame!
They should have been tried by a Jury and put away for a long time.
Maybe Marino will end up cooking in his new home.He is such a sneaky man and certainly not a good human being.Rotten people deserve more of a punishment.Makes the rest of us look like scum.

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Posted by bbparrots
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2012 at 8:52 am

I want to know what our state did about the ILLEGAL ALIENS that were also breaking the law by being here illegally and then using false documents to get a job and not paying taxes and how many of them were getting free welfare, free food, free medical AT THE LEGAL AMERICAN CITIZENS EXPENSE?! E-VERIFY FOR EVERY JOB IN THE US...PUT LEGAL AMERICANS BACK TO WORK!

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Posted by Truth Be Told
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Apr 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

How about the hidden fact they were actually paying those with fake papers less money and pocketing the difference. They then threatended those who complained that they should be happy to have a job or would be fired. They also stole services from the city without paying by making illegal taps into the city water pipes and not paying for garbabge service. But then everyone wants to say oh they are just being picked on. THEY ARE CROOKS!!

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I ate at El Balazo on Santa Rita only once. It was nasty. Both my wife and I got sick from it. The interior of the place was scary too. I'd much rather eat good Mexican food at Casa Orozco or, for that matter, Taco Bell. I say Good Riddance.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Be honest when filing your paperwork because once the IRS gets involved in your life, they are going to be involved for a long time.


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Posted by sick of the crap
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm

They need to take a look at all the restaraunts in Pleasanton, I know first hand that a lot of them hire illegals and they do it knowingly . Now what really pisses me off is that these illegals that work in the restaurants are very nasty, threatening to any white kids that want to work there to earn money for school or whatever, I am talking from experience here, I have witnissed it first hand. They get all their relatives and friends jobs and stick together. Any new people, not hispanic get harassed, threatened, treated unfairly and basically run out of a job. Wonder what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot, they'd sue but it's ok for them to enter this nation illegally, work here illegally under someone's stolen identy, then have the balls to threaten legal kids that want and need to work? Time to put an end to this and there are a lot of restaraunts here in the valley that knowingly hire illegals! I refuse to eat at any of them .

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Posted by Been There
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 27, 2012 at 5:36 pm

My family got so sick a few years ago from El Balazo! I think it was
about 3-4 years ago. My husband and sons were in bed for 2 full, miserable days, groaning and in pain. I had never seen them like that before. All 3 of them within an hour or so of dinner. I reported it to the Health Department. It's a really terrible thing to do to people - to make them that sick. It was awful. Needless to say, we steered clear of the place.

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Posted by tim
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Apr 27, 2012 at 9:01 pm

why don't they arrest the people who hire the illegals who loiter outside of home depot everyday? better yet, arrest the people who are loitering outside of home depot everyday.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Apr 27, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Looks the same,

Stop eating at Taco Bell.

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Posted by Pat
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2012 at 1:09 am

Their meat was not even edible. Cheap yes, quality no. And then they ripped off their own employees and even people who did outside work for them. And underpaying taxes hurts everyone. Who makes up the difference? We do. And Marino has been in trouble with the law several times. He is very creepy... And Nicole is not Mexican or Italian (part French). Wonder what her parents think of all of this. Yes, the FBI needs to also investigate Mama Rosa PIzza & Pasta and La Palapa. If you patronize these institutions you are saying it is acceptable for a family to cheat others by thier greed and lack of ethics.

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Posted by steveo
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 28, 2012 at 9:50 am

As long as there not unionized I don't have a problem. If people don't like it, don't eat there. Its only a restaurant.

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Posted by Devon
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 28, 2012 at 10:45 am

To say it is only a restaurant. Consider this. In the news - Walmart who do not offer their employees benefits and are non-unionized so they can compete with other businesses, costing tax payers millions of dollars when one of them gets sick and ends up in emergency. They have not been caught cheating the IRS, which cheats us as well. This restaurant does all these things, and is unfair to the other business community. Unfair business practices hurt all of us. And to the Sandovals, don't do the crime (by the way this was a federal crime) if you can't to the time. And with 4 children, this makes it even sadder they would teach them to pay it forward and one more generation of cheats. I wonder how old the youngest is, because now they also will not be around for them. Was it all worth it?

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Posted by steveo
a resident of Parkside
on Apr 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm

And consider the scale too....

Walmart has 1.4 million workers siphoning off taxpayer money during emergence room visits and drawing federal food stamps. But the restaurant ... well that's HUGE. Really huge.

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Posted by Devon
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Not anymore

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of California Reflections
on Apr 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

Used to go to El Balazo after work to enjoy the cheap beer and nachos. Food not very good but bar was good size. Didn't surprise me to hear that El Balazo employed illegal help as you can see it the minute you walked into the restaurant. Heard through the grapevine that an employee who use to work for them finally informed the IRS of all the illegal activities occurring there. Apparently Marino thought he was invincible and would laugh at the thought of ever getting caught. Too much greed. Whistleblower will now get a hefty finders fee of 15-20% of the $2.2 million dollars! Not bad for alerting IRS!

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Posted by steve
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2012 at 9:37 am

I doubt he'll get the 15-20%. The little wife and me have been calling the IRS three times a day for the past 6 years on all the companies that hire illegals. I mean just walk into anywhere and you can see it for cripesakess! But the IRS is real stinjee and rarely gives out finders fees.

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Posted by Janet
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 30, 2012 at 11:48 am

It is a little different when an employee lies about their citizenship status and provides phoeny SS#'s as opposed to an owner of an establishment obtaining phoney SS#'s and using them, and than also under-reporting wages. I think the Sandoval family are all in denial and sadly the children are brainwashed into thinking this is acceptable behavior, hey it is their parents so really funny. Maybe when they do not see their father for 3+ years and than see how much he is changed when he is released, and no mom for 1 year as she serves in a half-way house will they finally understand this is not acceptable behavior for adults. So sad that this behavior is already being repeated by the offspring - Mama Rosa Pizza & Pasta and La Palapa. I only hope they do not keep repeating those mistakes and try to compete legally. It is a hard business, but jail time is not picnic.

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Posted by Albert Einstein
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I like the thinking on this. Imprison the criminal to teach his or her children a lesson. Works for me!

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Posted by Janet
a resident of Downtown
on Apr 30, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Actually my thinking is how very sad this is for all the victims, including the children. It is almost abusive. Having children you think would stop criminals for doing such things, for their sake.

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Posted by Bud
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

Naive to believe that they are the only employers who have hired illegal aliens.
Sure it's wrong, and they are paying for their actions, but how many other business's, not only in Ptown, have been doing the same? Busting them is not exactly a huge thing in comparions. Get real.

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Posted by Jimmy McGill
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm

There isn't much to say other than he is a good man. I worked for him for over a half a year and, Marino had to be the best boss I ever had. I came to work for him late 2011 and he had a lot on his plate then. I was happy to know him and his family they are grate people and, the food they make is really good. His son owns Mama Rosa's and there pie's are the best I have ever had. So ya his dad messed up but the food is good.!!!!!!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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