Donut Shop Operators Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion

They concealed $4.5 million in cash sales and paid employees "off the books."

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A New York couple and their adult son were sentenced to prison today for conspiring to defraud the United States and for tax evasion.

In November 2021, John Zourdos, his wife Helen Zourdos and their son Dimitrios Zourdos, all of Rome, were each convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to defraud the United States, tax evasion and helping to file false corporate tax returns. U.S. District Court Judge David N. Hurd sentenced John Zourdos to 30 months in prison, Helen Zourdos to 20 months in prison and Dimitrios Zourdos to 10 months in prison.

According to evidence presented at trial and other court documents, John, Helen and  Dimitrios operated three Dippin Donuts coffee and donut shops with locations in Rome and New Hartford. From 2012 to 2017, the defendants concealed from the IRS approximately $4.5 million in cash sales. During that period, they evaded more than $2 million in individual and corporate taxes by, among other things, depositing cash directly into their personal bank accounts instead of into business bank accounts, providing incomplete information to their accountants, causing their accountants to file false individual and corporate tax returns with the IRS, and funding personal expenditures directly with undeposited and unreported cash. They used unreported income to fund a lavish lifestyle that included multiple luxury vehicles, expensive watches, investment accounts and real estate. They also paid some employees “off the books” cash wages for overtime hours, and paid other employees entirely in “off the books” cash.

In addition to the terms of imprisonment, Judge Hurd ordered each defendant to serve three years of supervised release and to pay more than $2 million in restitution to the United States.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman for the Northern District of New York made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case. Assistant Chief John N. Kane of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Perry for the Northern District of New York prosecuted the case.

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