The Justice Department alleges that the two restaurateurs hid more than $8 million in cash receipts.
The owners of a popular cheesesteak sandwich restaurant in Philadelphia were charged with conspiracy to defraud the IRS, tax evasion, and aiding and assisting in the filing of false tax returns.
Anthony Lucidonio Sr., 82, and his son, Nicholas Lucidonio, 54, both of New Jersey, owned and operated Tony Luke’s. According to court records, the father and son restaurateurs hid from the IRS more than $8 million in cash receipts by, among other things, depositing only a portion of Tony Luke’s receipts into business bank accounts and providing incomplete information concerning receipts and income to their accountant.
The Lucidonios, according to the indictment, also committed employment tax fraud by paying employees “off the books” in cash. To evade detection, the men would pay most employees a portion of their wages and salaries “on the books” based on only a portion of the hours they worked. They would then pay cash for the remaining hours worked without withholding taxes.
“Tony Luke’s is an iconic Philadelphia brand, but that is not what matters in the eyes of the law,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said in a statement. “These are serious allegations and it should go without saying that everyone has an obligation to follow the law.”
If convicted, each man faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and each count of tax evasion, and three years in prison for each false return charge.