UPDATE: Dianna's Deli owners indicted

Local police and federal agents have surrounded a home in Sandusky and have served a search warrant. The Register will be providing coverage from the scene.
Register
Apr 8, 2013

A news release from the U.S. Attorney's office states that five members of a Sandusky family were all charged in a three-count indictment related to skimming more than $1.8 million in cash from three restaurants the family operates in the Sandusky area.The money was deposited at numerous financial institutions, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Here is additional information from the news release:

Indicted are: Haralambos Gonos, age 52; Andreas Gonos, age 28; Chris Gonos, age 31; Kryiakos Gonos, age 30, and Sofia Skoura, age 52.

In count one – conspiracy to structure financial transactions to evade filing currency transaction reports -- Haralambos Gonos, Andreas Gonos, Chris Gonos, and Kryiakos Gonos are accused of taking large amounts of cash from Dianna’s Deli, Dianna’s and The Depot and making multiple deposits of cash just under the $10,000 threshold, for the purpose of evading the filing of a Currency Transaction Report. The conduct took place between 2007 and 2009, according to the indictment.

Count two charges that Haralambos Gonos and an unindicted co-conspirator conspired to structure financial transactions to evade filing Form 8300 between March 2010 and November 2011. Specifically, Gonos purchased a 2007 Mercedes and 2005 Porsche Cayenne motor vehicles by using combinations of cash and multiple cashier’s checks, according to the indictment.

Count three charges Haralambos Gonos and Sofia Skoura conspiring to engage in bulk cash smuggling in an attempt to transport currency to a place outside the United States on or about January 31, 2013. Specifically, they are accused of attempting to transport more than $14,700 to Greece, where they maintain a residence, according to the indictment.

“These defendants are accused of avoiding bank regulations,” Dettelbach said.

“It is IRS-CI’s responsibility when investigating financial institution fraud to focus on the flow of the money which ultimately leads us to the beneficiaries of this illegal activity,” said Denise Rocawich, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the Court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal record, if any, the defendants’ role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The investigating agencies in this case are the Internal Revenue Service, Toledo, Ohio the Department of Homeland Security, Dearborn, Michigan, , ICE Homeland Security Investigations, Detroit, Michigan, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Detroit, Michigan. The case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph R. Wilson.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Comments

Gardenman

Well not its not all bad. The SR had just a few days ago all these folks in Erie County that are not paying their property taxes. What some $10+ million owed to Erie County governments.

I just wnet to the Erie County Auditors site and looked up these folks and they DO PAY their property taxes. YEP, on Jan 28, 2013 paid first half of taxes on ther $670,000 appraised home which was $5823.00 in taxes. Sooooooooo see they are paying property taxes just not IRS etc. Maybe they feel generousity begins at home so they are paying local taxes just not the Feds,,,,,,,,heck they will just waste it anyway. Uncle Sam gets so bent out of shape when you don't pay him first !!!

Krissy3

They weren't charged with tax evasion...

Kottage Kat

Where is the Depot located??

looking around

Evidently many here are not familiar with the way Greek families run their businesses. This is nothing new, I've seen this in multiple states and city's. Tight knit family business where the only outsiders are cheap labor and not involved in management. They pass down knowledge of how to scam the government from due taxes and network their business in a manner that they only do business with other Greeks (probably relatives) if at all possible and with as many cash transactions as possible. If you speak and understand Greek and happen to be able to hear them talk to each other when they think you can't understand them you would get a real education on how they do business and how they feel about their help and customers. Greek business men will often form a board of sorts to interview young Greek entrepreneurs seeking backing for their own business. The Greek Orthodox church is also very involved with this process. The tentacles reach far and wide. Doubtful they will go to jail, but they will pay taxes and fines.

pptrsha

I am jealous!!! they bought the house next to my rental filled it up with young people, I don't know their nationality but they charge them 300 bucks EACH a month to live there, they are all quiet don't cause problems and I wouldn't even have known it if they hadn't told my husband!! obviously they are smarter than me... I can barely cover my mortgage!

deertracker

Maybe you are just as smart but have better morals!?

starryeyes83

This so reminds me of the Casa Fiesta people and the raids for illegals a while back .... and People think these owners don't use these restaurants for fronts. HA!

Oh well, they just put the deeds into another relatives' name and start all over again. That's the way the game is played.

deertracker

Agreed!

starryeyes83

Wow, thanks. deertracker you hardly ever agree with me on anything.

deertracker

LOL!

Cowboy

Deportation!

Just Sayin IMHO

Innocent mistake or sinister plot? All we can do is wait and see how things play out. Take all the media with a HUGE FAT grain of salt, and if you have ever dealt with them, make your own assumption.I have never met them. But I can tell you that the Depot and Dianna's in sandusky do not have the good food like they did before.... the best one is the diannas in port clinton. Not sure what happened in the three years I have been back, but SOMETHING happened. The food is suffering from it. What ever it is, please fix it. I dont want to have to drive all the way to port clinton for the good food when it should be RIGHT here! I hope you all are not doing anything intently illegal. Yes, YOU, owners of Dianna's et al., I hope it was just an honest mistake. If not, how dare you? How dare you live an AMERICAN dream that some of us are struggling to achieve, and flaunt it in our faces by giving us cheap food in unsanitary conditions (the comment about health regulations has me alarmed - given what I was served one day from the grill)and then skim off the cash we are giving you to flaunt it even more. I hope I am wrong. I really do.

devilsadvocate

I don't understand - they are a family running three small mom and pop restaurants (whose food is cheap and plentiful) and they are clearing millions of dollars, have expensive cars and live in an expensive house. Do the math! Where is all this money coming from? Or do I have the wrong job? Guess I need to start a mom and pop diner.

Think Deeper

Cocaine.

Think Deeper

Couldn't happen to worse human beings. Let me add, haha.

KnowledgeIsPower

@ Think Deeper

It is clear that you have something against someone in this article above. Whatever the issue is should remain between the two parties involved. Coming onto the Sandusky Register & tarnishing ones reputation on false accusations is unfair and karma will get the best of you in the future. Whether it be 1 year from now or 50 years from now, I'm unsure.

There are two things that I do know: One is that you would not want people making up false accusations about you publicly without representing factual information along with your name.

Two is that you would not tell this to any one of those men's faces listed in the article above. Your acts today are cowardly. Personally, I do not wish bad things on my worse enemy. I always wish them the best. We are all sinners and we all make mistakes. If you are perfect then say whatever you want but if you are not perfect and you have made mistakes in the past then why don't you put a little effort into being respectful?

Just my personal opinions on your comments. Best wishes.

Weather.78

I couldn't have said it better. Agree with you.

KnowledgeIsPower

@ DevilsAdvocate

"I don't understand - they are a family running three small mom and pop restaurants (whose food is cheap and plentiful) and they are clearing millions of dollars, have expensive cars and live in an expensive house. Do the math! Where is all this money coming from? Or do I have the wrong job? Guess I need to start a mom and pop diner."

Maybe you do need to wake up and do the math.

The key to a profitable business is location. It is also to understand your customer (keep rates relative to product).

Let me give you a hint: Cedar Point, Lake Erie, RT. 250, Kelly's Island, Put N Bay, exe..... Traffic increases advertisement & advertisement increases business and businesses increases revenue and revenue increases profit.

A fountain soda costs 5 cents per 20 ounces for a restaurant owner. They normally, sale a beverage for 1.99. You will profit 1.50 on each fountain beverage sale (subtract some minor expenses). If you can attract 1,000 people into your establishment each day you will profit nearly $1,500.00 selling SPRITE and COCA COLA! (Cost of fountain soda per ounce via google search).

It seems to me like these businesses do a lot of sales via breakfast items. I would assume that Dianna's in Sandusky would do about 10,000,000 in revenue over this two year period from 2007-2009. Include Diana's Catawba and we are looking at 15,000,000 in revenue. I believe that this 1.8 million dollars that was not claimed is simply a mistake or ignorance to the laws.

The nice house that this man has is not surprising. The article states that he is 52 years old. I would estimate that house & property being worth approximately 1 million in this market. A man that is in his 50's deserves a nice home like this. I do not see anything wrong with this. I see that he purchased some "sports cars." People that are foreign tend to buy foreign cars and most people think that they are showing off or acting better than other people but really they are driving these cars for quality and safety not to show off. Typically, when you buy nice cars you take care of them and when you take care of them people tend to get jealous. I am pretty familiar with car sales & if you know the right people you can get a used BMW 5 series for the same price as your new lincoln. It seems to me that he was buying used cars and not new cars which typically means that you will have to pay cash. Sounds like good money management to me.

If you find the right location for a restaurant and you do not take advantage of it. Then yes, you are in the wrong line of business. Again location is key.

Krissy3

Agreed!

WhatTheHeck

Wake up and try to make a buck selling food. Your margins of profit are way, way exaggerated! It just ain't so

KnowledgeIsPower

I know a thing or two about sales sir. Steaks are bought at 3 dollars a piece and sold for 10 at most restaurants. Fountain drinks are where the major profits are made. 5 cents per 20 ounces and being sold at 1.99. You do the math my friend. Restaurants in high traffic locations or more lucrative than you think. Selling breakfast plates is also very lucrative when items are bought in bulk. You'd be surprised! I don't have anything more to say though. Some people get way too into the newspaper drama. I wish the family and business the best of luck.

Ned Mandingo

I find discusting that these scumbags " stormed" a really nice mans home with "assault rifles" over this. federal agents are out of control and need to be put back in their place. They are the ones that need to turn their guns in.
How can they be "busted" for having money at a airport when it is not illegal for to people to have $14,700 between the two of them.
This seems to be a case of stupid federal agents making a case out of nothing to try to steal a mans fortune. whoever put so much work to try to ruin this familys life must be a weak female dog.

happyfeet64

Ok so here's my 2 cents. Most businesses who make an attractive amount of money have an accountant or financial adviser. The majority of financial advisors are well versed in how to avoid paying taxes by allocating said monies into a tax shelter, which is what the majority of millionaires do with their $$. Now, here's the thing- since there are legal ways to stash your money(not moral but legal), why would you put your business and family at risk by diverting those funds into cash to be taken out of the country or making deposits under $10k to avoid any type of tax penalty to be paid? Are they that greedy, stupid or just arrogant enough to think it wouldn't be noticed? Personally, I think the only thing that'll happen to them is a hefty fine and payment of back taxes. Much ado about nothing.

Krissy3

Businesses make nightly cash deposits after they close or if they get a large amount of cash sometimes they will have someone run to deposit it so that in the event that they get robbed they do not have a lot of cash on hand. This family owns three businesses in which one of the family members is actively present at each business at all times. If each business is cashed out each night and deposit is made by the one working at say diannas, then later the depot is cashed out by another family member who was running that business that day, then the other business is cashed out by the family member running that business that day and they all go to deposit their sales after cashing out that is three separate deposits by three different family members a day. It's not reasonable to think one person is going to go and cash out all three businesses just to make one deposit.. The paper mentioned the deposits ranged from 2k on up, it's not like they were depositing 9500 every time just to avoid having a form filed!

DGMutley

I think the charges have to do with their personal bank accounts rather than the business accounts which is even a weaker case.

The whole thing is weak. The 8300 form as you mentioned has to do with the seller not the buyer. The 105 form charge isn't valid because they needed to add up both family members' cash to exceed the 10k.

bugsie01

They can remain open for business but who is going to go there? If you ask me they are done.

Krissy3

I will.

DGMutley

ditto

Kottage Kat

Me 2

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