Robert J. Fedor, Esq., L.L.C.

Pizza chain executives accused of underpaying federal taxes

Happy's Pizza has locations in multiple states, including some franchises in Ohio. The restaurant chain isn't making news for further expansion or some other business development; rather, a number of individuals connected to Happy's are facing tax charges for underreporting income and payroll figures.

Reports say that a group of five men, including the restaurant's founder, engaged in a multi-year scheme to falsify tax income and payroll records for franchises. By inaccurately reporting these figures, the men were able to avoid paying some taxes and benefit financially. All of the men were indicted on conspiracy and tax crime charges, some of which are considered felonies.

Readers should not mistake the indictment as an indication that the accused men have been proven guilty in court. An indictment is a formal step that's taken in many criminal cases to allow the trial to move forward. Knowing this, all five people should be considered innocent until proven otherwise in order to maintain a sense of fairness.

Financial crimes, such as this one, often involve several years' worth of documents included as evidence. This may require the defense attorneys to carefully comb through this evidence in order to find any inconsistencies or information that could cast doubt on the criminal allegations.

Happy's Pizza is a growing franchise, and these criminal charges could definitely put a damper on that expansion. In a growing business, there are likely a bunch of moving pieces within the company. Such an environment could provide an explanation for the serious charges leveled against the business leaders.

Source: The Detroit News, "Happy's Pizza founder indicted on conspiracy, tax charges," Robert Snell, July 16, 2013