The founder of a restaurant with cheese in Philadelphia and one of his sons pleaded guilty to federal tax fraud, which claimed to have been hiding nearly $ 8 million in sales for ten years.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that 83-year-old Anthony Lucidonia Sr. and 55-year-old Nicolas Lucidonia, two owners of Tony Luke’s famous cheesecake and sandwich shop, on Monday pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government.
New Jersey residents told a federal judge they kept two sets of books to hide cash from sales at their store in southern Philadelphia, and admitted they paid part of the workers’ salaries under the table to evade payroll taxes, the newspaper said.
The defendants, who are due to be sentenced later this year, said in a statement issued by their attorneys that they “are fully responsible for paying some of Tony Luke’s employees cash. This practice ended in 2017, more than five years ago. ”
The statement said the defendants had “fully cooperated with the government’s investigation since its inception and look forward to the matter being closed”. Tony Luke, they said, “will continue to serve its loyal clientele and provide lucrative jobs for its loyal employees and their families.”
The face of Tony Luke, Anthony Lucidoni Jr., known as Tony Luke Jr., was not named in the indictment. He broke up with his father and brother in 2015, followed by a public, sometimes personal, litigation over franchise and prescription ownership agreements.
Tony Luke’s opened in 1992 and now has more than a dozen locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, Maryland, Texas and Bahrain.