Tax evasion is serious business. The IRS sentenced Mystic Pizza’s store owner to a year in prison for evading his tax obligation. He was charged with having concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
John Zelepos received his sentence with an additional three years of being supervised upon his release. He chose to plead guilty to offenses involving financial structuring and tax evasion.
His pizza store became an attraction for tourists after Julia Roberts starred in a movie depicting the lives of three women who worked in a small-town pizza. The film was made in 1988.
Prosecutors said that the 49-year old Zelepos hid more than $330,000 for his company’s profits between 2006 and 2010. Those profits were placed in the personal bank accounts of him and family members. He was also charged with filing false tax returns in an effort to hide his true income.
People fail to pay their taxes for various reasons. The tax system is based on those who willingly honor their obligations to pay taxes. The IRS does encourage those who have not filed to voluntarily come forward and arrange to make payments. Not paying taxes can of course lead to challenging consequences.