South Philly Cheesesteak Proprietors Get Prison Time For Tax Scheme, Feds Say

A father-son pair of cheesesteak shop owners were sentenced to prison last week for hiding $8 million in revenue from tax collectors, say federal prosecutors. 

Tony Luke's, 39 E. Oregon Avenue

Tony Luke's, 39 E. Oregon Avenue

Photo Credit: Google Maps (Street View)

Nicholas Lucidonio, 57, and Anthony Lucidonio Sr., 84, the proprietors of Tony Luke's in South Philadelphia, will each spend 20 months behind bars, said the Justice Department in a release. 

The Lucidonios, of New Jersey, carried out a "decade-long conspiracy to defraud the IRS" from 2006 to 2016, prosecutors said. The pair only deposited a portion of their earnings into the business's bank accounts and gave "incomplete information" to their accountant, leading them to file false tax returns that vastly underreported their income, according to investigators. 

They also evaded employment taxes by paying workers a portion of their wages "off the books" in cash without withholding federal income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes, authorities said. 

In 2015, when the Lucidonios were involved in a dispute with another person over franchising rights, prosecutors said they "became concerned that their tax fraud scheme would be revealed." They amended the prior year's tax returns to increase reported sales and keep the scheme hidden, said DOJ. 

Officials said the schemes defrauded the US government out of $1,321,042. 

In addition to their 20-month sentences, both men must serve three years of supervised release, prosecutors added. 

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