A Watertown man convicted of tax fraud avoided jail time in part due to a letter on his behalf from Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.
Burnham Ud Din, 50, of Watertown, was sentenced to 500 hours of community service and to pay a $140,372 fine for his involvement with a scheme to not pay taxes for two fried chicken restaurants — Kennedy Fried Chicken in Roxbury and Crown Fried Chicken in Chelsea.
Federal prosecutors had sought a year in jail and a $212,224.01 fine to repay the withheld taxes.
The sentence was handed down on Nov. 7 by Boston Federal District Court Judge Judge George A. O’Toole, who took into account letters in support of Din, including one from Yousafzai, according to a post on Universal Hub. Her family knew the Dins from their time living in Pakistan. She is the youngest winner of the Nobel Prize, and is an advocate for female education in her native Pakistan.
According to her letter, Yousafzai has known Din for 15 years. She wrote:
“My father always spoke highly of him and has considered him to be an honest and trustworthy individual. He is known to be from a noble and upstanding family amongst our community in Swat.”
She added that Din is the sole income provider for his wife and four children. Her letter was one of several submitted by friends and neighbors (Note that one letter was submitted by Watertown News Editor Charlie Breitrose, a former neighbor).
Din co-owned the the Chelsea restaurant with Hazrat Khan, the convicted ringleader of the fraud, Din was the sole owner of the restaurant in Roxbury. According to the Universal Hub piece, Khan and another man, Khurshed Iqbal,allegedly recruited Din and several other Pakistani natives to run fried chicken restaurants and make payments to them in part by paying employees in cash to avoid payroll taxes and by keeping two sets of books. Iqbal fled the country before he could be charged.
Read the letter and the entire Universal Hub piece by clicking here.