Owners of Peabody Pizza Shop Charged with Obstructing a Federal Criminal Investigation
BOSTON – The owners of Giovanni’s Roast Beef & Pizza in Peabody, Mass., were arrested yesterday and charged in U.S. District Court in Boston with obstruction of justice for removing items from a safe deposit box following the execution of federal search warrants.
Theodora Panousos, a/k/a Dora Panousos, 63, and Konstantinos Panousos, a/k/a Kosta Panousos, 37, were charged in a criminal complaint with two counts of corruptly concealing a record, document or other object, and attempting to do so with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding. They were released on bond following an initial appearance before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy.
According to the complaint, Dora and Kosta were under investigation for tax evasion and filing false tax returns, specifically for failing to report all of Giovanni’s gross income. On the morning of Feb. 15, 2017, investigators executed search warrants at Giovanni’s restaurant and at Dora’s residence and seized, among other things, safe deposit box keys. That same morning, both Dora and Kosta were served with grand jury subpoenas for, among other things, records and tangible objects “pertaining to the payment, receipt, transfer or storage of money or other things of value.”
After the searches, and after Dora and Kosta were served with the subpoenas, the two allegedly went to a bank and emptied a safe deposit box except for a few pieces of jewelry. Surveillance footage allegedly showed Dora entering the bank with an empty tote bag and leaving the bank with what appeared to be items from the safe deposit box in the tote bag.
Fifteen minutes later, Dora and Kosta arrived at a second bank where Dora had another safe deposit box. Dora told bank employees she had lost the keys and requested that they have the box drilled. However, before they could do so, investigators executed a search warrant for the box and discovered that it contained, among other things, approximately $415,000 in cash. Another box leased by Dora was found to contain approximately $224,220 in cash.
The charge of obstruction of justice provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Balthazard of Weinreb’s Economic Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.