Say it Isn’t So—Legendary Philly Cheesesteak Owner Indicted for Tax Crimes

tax crimesMany people get caught up in allegations of tax fraud. Recently the king of Philadelphia Cheesesteak and his son were indicted for filing false tax returns and other criminal tax charges.


Take a hoagie, stuff with thinly sliced steak and cheese, toast until the bun is crusty, the steak is steaming and the cheese is melted, and top with anything you like. Tony Luke’s, a South Philly eatery owned by Anthony Lucidonio Sr. and son, Nicholas Lucidonio, is a famous local sandwich shop known for its cheesesteak. Unfortunately, it is not only the hoagies getting toasty these days, as the two owners were charged in late summer with cooking the books—keeping two sets of books that may have concealed as much as eight million dollars in receipts from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


Altogether, 82-year old Mr. Lucidonio Sr., and his son, 54-year old Nicolas, face more than 20 counts of criminal tax fraud.


We talked earlier about the problems that can rise when paying cash under the table, that is, cash paid without report to the IRS or payment of payroll taxes. The IRS alleges the duo kept two sets of books. In one set, they recorded, reported, and paid over employment taxes on a portion of their earnings from their business. The pair then paid employees a substantial amount more in cash—without withholding employment taxes or reporting the income. The accountant retained by the pair was directed to prepare false income tax returns and quarterly business returns.


Of the indictment, the US Attorney General working on the matter, William M. McSwain, stated, “Tony Luke’s is an iconic Philadelphia brand, but that is not what matters in the eyes of the law. These are serious allegations and it should go without saying that everyone has an obligation to follow the law. This alleged scheme victimized honest taxpayers in two ways: first, by hiding more than $8 million in revenue from the IRS and second, by avoiding payroll taxes.”


The scheme apparently ran from 2006 to 2016, with a burp in 2015 when the pair were engaged in a courtroom franchising and recipe disagreement with Tony Luke Jr., also a son of Mr. Lucidonio. According to the indictment, Anthony and Nicolas were concerned legal troubles might shed light on their activities, so 2015 returns were doctored to report more income—and also included fake income tax deductions to offset the increase in income reported.


If convicted, father and son face years in prison, extensive fines, and probation. Although facing serious tax charges, they are presumed innocent until found otherwise. Whether you make a million dollars making sandwiches, steel, or in financial transactions, if you become embroiled in an IRS criminal tax investigation—speak with an experienced tax attorney for help mitigating the impact of charges that may be pending against you.


Get experience legal advice from a skilled legal team

With offices in Cleveland and Chicago, the criminal tax lawyers at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., LLC respond to your concerns about payroll tax issues or other tax controversy. When you need skilled tax advice, call 800-579-0997 or contact us.


Understanding Tax Fraud