Feds don’t crave eateries

Restaurants likely to remain open as Gonos family faces prison time.
Melissa Topey
Nov 8, 2013
Members of a local family with restaurants in Erie and Ottawa counties are in a pickle these days, likely facing time in federal prison for financial crimes.

Even so, there’s a good chance the Gonos family’s eateries — Dianna’s Deli in Perkins and Port Clinton, and The Depot Family Restaurant in Sandusky — will remain intact, regardless of each family member’s fate.

Click HERE for more stories about the family and their restaurants

In April, immigration agents raided the family’s $671,000 home on Crosstree Lane in Sandusky. The federal government then indicted Haralambos Gonos, 53; Andreas Gonos, 28; Chris Gonos, 32; Kyriakos Gonos, 30; and Sofia Skoura, 52, on charges stemming from allegations they structured financial transactions to avoid filing required bank reports.

On Oct. 30, Haralambos pleaded guilty in U.S. Northern District Court to conspiracy to structuring financial transactions to evade filing currency transaction reports; conspiracy to structure financial transactions to evade filing reports; and conspiracy to engage in bulk cash smuggling. The family made dozens of financial transactions from 2007 to 2009 — totaling more than $1.8 million — but they never reported the transactions as required by law, according to federal officials.    Andreas, Chris and Kyriakos all pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to structure financial transactions to evade filing currency transaction reports.

When they’re sentenced on Feb. 11 at the federal court in Toledo, Judge Jeffrey Helmick could sentence each of them to a maximum of five years in prison and fine them up to $250,000 apiece.

Haralambos is also scheduled for sentencing in February. He faces 27 to 33 months in prison, although Helmick could reduce that to 18 to 22 months if he believes Haralambos has accepted responsibility for his actions, said Michael Tobin, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice.

“By his plea agreement, he agreed to accept responsibility for what occurred,” said Ralph Cascarilla, Haralambos’ attorney. “We are optimistic the family will be able to manage the operations of the family’s three businesses.”

Skoura is the only remaining defendant whose case is pending. Helmick has given her until Nov. 10 to complete her plea negotiations.

Haralambos’ attorney said the family’s restaurants should continue to operate, given that family members are stepping in to help. The Dianna’s Deli restaurants are located on Milan Road in Perkins Township and East Harbor Road in Port Clinton, and the Depot restaurant is on Tiffin Avenue in Sandusky.

Earlier this year, federal authorities stopped Haralambos and Sofia at a Detroit airport, finding them in possession of $14,736 cash. Federal law requires passengers to let authorities know if they’re carrying more than $10,000 cash on them. The incident resulted in a charge of conspiracy to engage in bulk cash smuggling.

The investigation continued, culminating in the indictment in April, when authorities searched the family’s home and also arrested all five family members. They were all later released on bond, although the court imposed special restrictions on Chris Gonos, who tested positive for drugs while he was out on bond.

Haralambos has agreed to forfeit to the government about $189,000, as well as a 2005 Porsche and a 2007 Mercedes. His plea agreement did not involve any stipulations about the future of the restaurants.

Tobin said he can’t comment on the potential prison time the family members face.

“We’ll leave sentencing up to the judge,” Tobin said.

Comments

deertracker

@Centauri
Thank you! Like you, I respect other's opinions but feel entitled to my own as well.

KnuckleDragger

Deerturd knows it all, you really can't expect that crotchety old man to listen to you. The only thing he has operated in a restaurant is a dishwasher.

Pterocarya frax...

And this adds to the debate...how?

deertracker

Relax GI Joe. I am not old or brilliant and definitely not demented! I did operate a dishwasher when I was 16 though! I only did it for a summer unlike the 21 years you did!

santown419

It doesn't surprise how the ones that love to talk about race card are the ones who jump on anything race when the person looks nothing like them. Knucklehead had a long history of saying racist ignorant comments yet he is old. He also loves to use I have black friends excuse.

Centauri

http://www.justice.gov/usao/ohn/...
"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."

I don't have the time to access court documents. The question is did one person try to transport more than $14,700 or was the money divided to remain under $10,000?

"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."

Was this practice illegal? The family has a home in Greece. The entire family is involved with the restaurants. I fail to see anything illegal about the source of the money.

http://www.ffiec.gov/bsa_aml_inf...
Currency Transaction Reporting—Overview

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f...

There might be more to this but my comments and opinions are based on what I have read. Anybody can add more information.

This is not a story about the food, good or bad.

Mommabear713

It was divided. See this is where I'm confused because I remember the first initial report of them being stopped, the wife had under $4,500 & the Dad had $7,000 something on him. How does that add ip to $14k+?

^^^Not doubting your reports, that is just what I remember seeing.

devilsadvocate

I need to quit my job and open and open a mom and pop restaurant. Almost two million in three years and a house with over half a million. Seriously, is anyone asking where they made all this money? I don't think anyone with a sane mind thinks they pulled that in from their three restaurants.

whattheBucks

here's the deal and it is kind of simple. when you cross the waters or the borders into our country it is then that you need to start playing by our rules. if you are given / take the opportunity to start and run a business that you may not have been able to do in your homeland then you follow our rules. and that means paying the taxes that you're supposed to pay, not making small deposits all over the place in different accounts trying to avoid paying what you should. if you can afford a $600,000 + home, plus a Porsche and are Mercedes then you can pay what you're supposed to in taxes !! either go America ! or go home !

Nemesis

And our number one rule is a document that starts with the words "We, the people..." and it obligates the government to leave people alone until they violate the rights of another.

None of the charges are for not paying their taxes.

Gramz1949

Is it true that people coming into the USA don't have to pay taxes for seven years? What happens if they go back to their country and stay for the allotted time and then return to the USA. Do they get a pass to avoid taxes for seven more years? Just wondering..

Pterocarya frax...

No...not true. That is another lie spread often by haters.

http://www.immigrationpolicy.org...

http://www.snopes.com/business/t...

I should edit my statement. It sounds like this immigrant family tried to get away without paying a lot of taxes. Most people don't plead guilty to federal charges unless they are.

Nemesis

Actually, the way federal prosecutions are conducted, very few go to trial. They twist a lot of peoples' arms until they plead guilty.

lifetimeresident

I thought a guy named Bobby owned all of these properties?

santown419

I to know them and everyone knows the sons were into drugs both selling and using. People can try to make them into angels but they were far from that.

Nemesis

Well, then charge them with selling drugs. That hasn't happened, and in any event, it's none of the government's business what people choose to put in their own bodies.

Ask yourself, if selling/ingesting an intoxicating substance can be banned by the federal government through mere legislation, why did we need the 18th Amendment? HMMMM?

Ned Mandingo

I find it disgusting that these federal scum have attacked a nice family with silly laws. These idiots work for a agency that shouldn't exist in the first place. Good luck to you Bobby.

OMG.LOL.WT_

I have long suspected restaurant owners are basically dishonest. They expect customers to provide their help tips so they can pay them little while they laugh all the way to the bank. I know of NO other business that operates that way.

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