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Press Release

Two Owners of Tony Luke’s Philadelphia Cheesesteak Restaurant Plead Guilty to Tax Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Paid Employees “Off the Books” for More Than a Decade

Two owners of a popular South Philadelphia cheesesteak restaurant pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud the IRS.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Anthony Lucidonio Sr., 82, and his son, Nicholas Lucidonio, 55, both of New Jersey, owned and operated Tony Luke’s, a cheesesteak and sandwich restaurant located in South Philadelphia. In an indictment returned on July 24, 2020, both were charged with a 10-year conspiracy to defraud the IRS by concealing more than $8 million in business receipts from the IRS, providing incomplete information to their accountant and causing their accountant to file false tax returns with the IRS that understated business receipts and income as well by engaging in a payroll tax scheme.

As part of their plea, the Lucidonios admitted to conspiring to evade employment taxes by paying employees a portion of their salaries “off the books” in cash. Anthony and Nicholas also admitted they caused their accountant to prepare and file with the IRS fraudulent quarterly employment tax returns that understated the actual wages paid to their employees and the taxes due.

Anthony and Nicholas Lucidonio are scheduled to be sentenced at a later date, and both men face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States. They also face a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Jennifer Williams for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Assistant Chief John Kane of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Barrett for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case.

Updated May 9, 2022

Press Release Number: 22-488