When Tax Issues Turn Criminal: A Case involving Philly Cheesesteaks

Individuals and businesses face plenty of civil tax issues every year. These often range from simple mistakes in reporting to intentional fraud. However, some civil tax issues can turn into criminal investigations. If you have been contacted by an IRS Special Agent regarding a matter involving your IRS taxes, it is important to take steps to protect your legal rights and your financial stability. Police and federal agents frequently contact individuals and businesses concerning suspected criminal violations related to taxes. If they contact you, you’ll need an experienced attorney by your side to defend your case – or, you could end up with a case similar to that of these Philadelphia cheesesteak business owners.

Tony Lucidonio (Luke) Sr. and his sons ran their family cheesesteak business for years. Tony, the owner, opened his first location in 1992. One of his sons, Tony Lucidonio Jr., helped grow and expand the business across the U.S. and even overseas. Eventually, the Lucidonio family had built a substantial business, with more than a dozen locations.

That was, until 2015 – when a legal dispute over Junior’s ownership and compensation caused a split in the business. Junior took over all but the original location as a franchisee, while Senior retained ownership of the original location. Two of Junior’s sons, who had previously worked at the location, decided to turn in evidence which clearly demonstrated tax fraud. Senior and another one of his sons had been hiding the profits from their restaurant by paying employees in cash, and misreporting their hours worked. They ultimately pled guilty.

While this is a more severe example of fraud, it’s important to keep in mind that cases like this happen to many business owners. In fact, there are many tax-related crimes that are significantly more common than fraud. What’s important is that you are careful to avoid such criminal activity in the first place. The IRS has a number of tools at its disposal to identify and investigate potential criminal violations – even minor ones. No matter how careful you are about following the law, however, it’s easy to fall through the cracks if you’re not keeping careful track of your finances. When it comes to tax crimes, the stakes are always high. That’s why it’s so important to seek professional guidance when you’re up against criminal charges. For an experienced team of attorneys that can help you defend your case from IRS investigations and litigation, contact Weisberg Kainen Mark, P.L. at (305) 374-5544 today to schedule your consultation.

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Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL

As experienced trial lawyers with a passion for justice, our firm provides clients with compelling advocacy, attorney availability, and creative solutions to your tax or criminal law matters.

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