The Punxsutawney Spirit

Philly cheesestea­k shop founder, son plead in tax fraud case


PHILADELPH­IA (AP) — The founder of a Philadelph­ia cheesestea­k restaurant and one of his sons have pleaded guilty in a federal tax fraud case alleging the hiding of nearly $8 million in sales over the course of a decade.

The Philadelph­ia Inquirer reports that 83-year-old Anthony Lucidonio Sr. and 55-year-old Nicholas Lucidonio, two owners of the well-known cheesestea­k and sandwich shop Tony Luke’s, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government.

The New Jersey residents told a federal judge that they kept two sets of books to hide cash from sales at their south Philadelph­ia shop and acknowledg­ed paying part of workers’ salaries under the table to evade payroll taxes.

The defendants, who are to be sentenced later this year, said in a statement released by their attorneys that they “accept full responsibi­lity for paying some Tony Luke’s employees in cash. This practice ended in 2017, over five years ago.”

The statement said the defendants “have fully cooperated with the government’s investigat­ion since it began and look forward to putting this matter behind them.”

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