Zappers: tools that let restaurateurs adjust the totals on their tills to cheat on taxes

The New York Times reports on "zappers" — tools that let restaurateurs tamper with the totals on their tills in order to create untaxable income: I'm surprised (but shouldn't be) that tills that are left on the restaurateurs' premises are presumed to tamper-proof and to yield accurate counts even when the owner is unscrupulous:

Thanks to a software program called a zapper, even technologically illiterate restaurant and store owners can siphon cash from computer cash registers and cheat tax officials.

While zappers are most likely to be used by medium and small businesses, the take is anything but small change. A 12-store restaurant chain in Detroit used a zapper to skim more than $20 million over four years, federal prosecutors say.

Zappers – also known as automated sales suppression devices – are a new twist on an old fraud. "The technology is new and getting newer, but the concept is as old as having two sets of books," said Verenda Smith of the Federation of Tax Administrators, the association of state tax administrators.

With Software, Till Tampering Is Hard to Find

(via /.)