When last we heard from Roberto Donna, the chef had just ‘fessed up to felony embezzlement for withholding more than $140,000 in meals taxes from Arlington County.  The only way Donna avoided a five-year prison sentence was to promise to pay back that cash, which totaled $156,330.96 with penalties and interest.

The threat of jail appears to have done something that no one or nothing else could: It has convinced Roberto Donna to pay his taxes.

According to an item posted this afternoon by ARLnow.com, Donna or someone has knocked more than $22,000 off his tax bill, which was accumulated from October 2006 to April 2009 when the chef operated Bebo Trattoria in Crystal City. Writes ARLnow:

The now-defunct Bebo Trattoria, Arlington Catering Company and Murky Coffee owe $133,825.80, $66,581.76 and $46,240.93 respectively as of July 12. That’s down from $156,330.96, $70,734.58 and $52,949.69 (according to a past Washington City Paper article), for a total reduction of $33,366.74 collectively.

Other Arlington restaurants have obviously heeded the lesson of Roberto Donna. They’re paying down their taxes, too. I think you have to score this a victory for Arlington County.