First of Five "NifyFifty's" Owners Sentenced for Tax Evasion Scheme
PHILADELPHIA - Robert Mattei, (75), of Del Ray Beach, Florida, a co-owner of the ANifty Fifty=s@ restaurant chain, was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for his role in a tax evasion conspiracy that cheated the Internal Revenue Service by failing to properly account for more than $15 million in gross receipts. Mattei pleaded guilty in May of 2012 to conspiracy, tax evasion, and bank fraud. Mattei, along with co-defendants Leo McGlynn, Brian Welsh, Joseph Donnelly, and Elena Ruiz, all of whom also pleaded guilty, constructed a long-running scheme to avoid paying millions of dollars in personal and employment taxes as related to their restaurant chain. The defendants not only evaded paying the taxes they owed, they filed income tax returns claiming they were due refunds based on the erroneous reporting of their incomes.
The restaurant owners evaded paying taxes since the restaurant was established in 1986 by, among other things, paying employees a portion of their wages with unreported cash in order to evade payroll taxes; paying suppliers with unreported cash; and having false tax returns prepared that under-reported income and falsely inflated expenses and deductions. Just between the years 2006 and 2010, the defendants deliberately failed to properly account for $15.6 million in gross receipts, thereby evading $2.2 million in federal employment and personal taxes. In the course of their conspiracy, Mattei, McGlynn, Donnelly, and Welsh committed bank fraud by submitting to the bank bogus income tax returns in order to secure several business loans.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Mary McLaughlin ordered restitution. To date, the IRS has received $4,336,871 in tax payments and an additional $205,300 in forfeiture payments.
Co-defendant Leo McGlynn will be sentenced on November 19, 2013; co-defendant Joseph Donnelly will be sentenced November 20, 2013; co-defendants Elena Ruiz and Brian Welsh will be sentenced November 21, 2013.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nancy E. Potts and Paul G. Shapiro.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, EASTERN DISTRICTof PENNSYLVANIA
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PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525