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Jersey Shore pizzeria owner admits $208K in tax evasion

Jersey Shore pizzeria owner admits $208K in tax evasion

The former helped owner and operator of Mario’s Pizza in Ocean City pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges he evaded more than $208,000 in payroll, personal and corporate income taxes, authorities said.

Ernesto Cannuscio, 70, of Linwood, was involved in the well-known, popular pizzeria business from October 2013 to September 2018, according to court documents filed in the case.

“Cannuscio failed to deposit significant amounts of the cash receipts into the Mario’s Pizza’s corporate bank account,” a spokesman for the IRS said in a statement.

Cannuscio paid employees cash wages off the books to avoid payroll taxes, according to court documents filed in the case.

“Cannuscio did not tell his accountant about the cash receipts, nor did he tell the accountant about the cash payroll to Mario’s Pizza’s employees,” prosecutors alleged in court filings.

Failing to tell the accountant about unreported income caused the accountant to underreport the gross receipts on the corporate tax returns “as well as the flow-through income (that) should have been reported on Cannuscio’s personal tax return,” according to an IRS spokesman.

“In addition, Cannuscio evaded employment taxes by not informing the accountant about the cash wages paid to employees,” the spokesman said.

Cannuscio pleaded guilty in US District Court to conspiracy to evade income taxes. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 25

“Business owners have an obligation to properly report all of the income earned whether paid in cash, check or credit card,” stated Tammy Tomlins, acting special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit in Newark.

Tomlins said Cannuscio defrauded the government of about $208,448 in taxes. The conspiracy to evade taxes carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and possible fine of $250,000.

Anthony G Attrino may be reached at tattrino@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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