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

You Looking For ME

The Family Depot Restaurant is infested with ROACHES they should close that place down. How can you serve people food knowing this? I will never eat there again always went there. If there are infested I bet Diannas Deli is too. They need to go in a jail cell and put roaches in there and see how they like it

mimi's word

By your attuitude I am sure they don't miss you. If it has been inspected, which if it is so infested then I am sure you reported it, than the city is keeping an eye on it. However roaches are not easy to gt rid of and can come, as many types of insects, on fresh vegetables you buy at any store.

Peninsula Pundit

The Register really does need the 'thumbs up/down' format.
+1, mimi.

muec95

>>>> Google is paying 80$ per hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. on sunday I bought themselves a Alfa Romeo from having made $5637 this month. its the best-job Ive ever had.It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out http://goo.gl/f6e95V

Typical

??

Unassumer

gosh I hope there are no cockroaches on fresh vegetables at any store and I would imagine the cockroaches at the Depot were there before this family took over. it is a dump and I'm surprised they continue to own it. their other restaurants are very clean. oh, and please learn the difference between 'then' and 'than'. it's not than the city; it's then.

mimi's word

I do know the difference and just hit a wrong letter but thank you so much for your superior spelling and grammar. I also have worked in the restaurant business for over 20 plus years and you can get all kinds of bugs from fresh fruit and vegetables.

Centauri

What REAL crime did this family commit?

http://www.ice.gov/bulk-cash-smu...
Congress criminalized the act of smuggling large amounts of cash as part of the PATRIOT Act.

If the source of the money was from honest operations of business and possible legal investments, what was the REAL crime? Some PATRIOT ACT laws are just plain stupid.

Meanwhile, organized crime gets a free pass with help from the powers that be.

coasterfan

The Patriot Act...Dept. of Homeland Security.....Big Government c/o the Republican Party.

KnuckleDragger

Let's not forget to add, and continued/expanded by the current administration. I guess there is on thing that both repubs and dems in DC agree on...the Patriot Act.

Nemesis

Coaster, maybe you should go check again how the vote on that went down. But then again, we wouldn't want to crush your fantasies with reality.

Peninsula Pundit

Thank You, Centauri.
I was about to post the exact same sentiments.
Since when is having large sums of money perceived as prima facie that you are involved in nefarious activities?
And here, it is obvious there is no crime.
I do respectfully disagree with one statement of yours:
MOST patriot act laws are just plain stupid.

Unassumer

the Patriot Act laws may be in place to inhibit terrorism and the activities of drug dealers but actually just rob regular citizens of rights and privacy. it also enabled employers to misuse the system regarding background checks on potential employees. criminals will get around the laws while the rest of us suffer.

coasterfan

Exactly!!!! The NSA spying and government intrusion everyone is complaining about in 2013 started during the Bush Administration, courtesy of the Patriot Act.

People who complain about the current administration's supposed disregard for the Constitution were strangely silent when the Patriot Act was introduced. Odd, considering the Patriot Act was a complete 180 on how America handled privacy, illegal search and seizure over the previous 200+ years. Today, we are seeing the legacy of the Patriot Act. Ohio's amusing to see that the people who are most upset about gov't surveillance today are members of the party who made it all possible...

Nemesis

The structuring laws are like prosecuting people for writing letters or meeting in person instead of texting or making phone calls, because they must be trying to avoid the NSA eavesdropping because they're planning terrorism.

There are small businesses that have had all their accounts seized because they deposited the store's daily receipts each evening, and the store never took in more than $10K a day.

KnuckleDragger

^^Thumbs up

Centauri

http://www.theguardian.com/world...
"How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish"
"Special flights brought in tonnes of banknotes which disappeared into the war zone"

http://philebersole.wordpress.co...
"The largest theft of funds in national history”

If your government transports billions of dollars out of the country, then it is A-OK. Hypocrisy?

yogiberra

Do you seriously think 1.8 million came from money generated from their three crappy restaurants? They obviously have "other business", why else do you think they were trying to hide the money.

Mommabear713

They also own rental properties. Pretty ignorant of you to assume. I do not know them personally, I have had brief encounters with Andreas, and he is super nice.

I'm sorrt, but the only crime I see here is from the government. They are earning this money through their legit businesses/rental houses. I think its crap that hardworking people can't keep some of their money, instead the government HAS to have their hands in it.

Centauri

"In April, immigration agents raided the family’s $671,000 home on Crosstree Lane in Sandusky."

I had to verify that $671,000 figure. Some got property tax breaks while others didn't.

http://erie.iviewauditor.com/Res...
I looked at some of the properties with the EVEN number addresses and made some comparisons.

deertracker

Some of you REALLY need to get a clue. The Health Dept. is not a safety net for the public when it comes to dirty restaurants. They Never close down anything. The Depot is the nastiest restaurant I have ever been in and will NEVER go back. Roadhouse/Brown Derby is a close second. I don't care what they do with their money or how they get it but their restaurants are FILTHY! PERIOD!

The Bizness

The Healthy Dept. inspects restaurants 1 or 2 times a year depending on the type of license they hold. The inspections are random, and you can ask for a public records request if you want to see what they found. I do think it is rare for them to shutter the doors on a place, but they will do it if it has a sewage issue, water issue, or refrigerator issue, among other things.

deertracker

Yeah right!

The Bizness

Just thought I would let you know, but if you care not to listen that is up to you.

whattheBucks

The biz is right on the money with the facts, i deal with the health dept.

deertracker

He is correct about the facts and very naïve. I operated restaurants in this area for 30 years and I too know all about the Health Dept.

The Bizness

LOL

mimi's word

You are correct HD don't like to shut anyone down. I was told by an inspector the HD gives owners every available opportunity to fix any and all problems so not to be seen as the bad guy who shuts down family businesses, putting a bunch of people out of work. If you think somewhere is unclean or you don't want to eat there don't go. Simple as that.

Centauri

Deertracker,
We do not always agree. You are NOT a troll. I welcome ALL of your comments.

Commentary brings out ideas to offer better solutions.

I wanted you to know that.

KnuckleDragger

LMAO!!! It's too bad most of his comments are ignorant and nonsensical. Only on very few occasions has he ever added to any debate. One things for certain though, he will make sure the race card is played liberally.

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.