The former owner of three Tucson-area Mexican restaurants has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to impede and impair the function of the Internal Revenue Service and engaging in a pattern and practice of hiring illegal aliens.

Christopher Evenson was originally charged with 18 federal charges related to hiring illegal immigrants to work at the Chuy’s restaurants he and his father owned.

Evenson and father Mark Evenson also owned a dozen Chuy’s in the Phoenix area and California.

The Chuy’s at East 22nd Street and South Kolb Road was under different ownership and not a part of the investigation that led to Evenson’s arrest.

The Evenson’s were accused of paying illegal immigrant employees by check and not reporting the wages to the IRS in 2011.

The allegations go back to 2008, according to federal court documents.

Christopher Evenson is scheduled for sentencing in July in U.S. District Court in Tucson.

He could receive as many as five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

The charges against Mark Evenson were dismissed in January after doctors ruled him mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or On Twitter @pm929.