Dianna’s Deli owner to prison

Gonos family sentenced in tax evasion case
Alex Green
Apr 11, 2014
The recompense for sins orchestrated by the father?

For the father, 18 months in prison. For the sons, two years probation apiece.

So decided federal Judge Jeffrey Helmick, who on Thursday packaged some candid words with the sentences he handed down to members of the Gonos family, a group of restaurateurs who pleaded guilty last year to financial crimes related to tax evasion and cash smuggling.

The family owns the Dianna’s Deli restaurants in Port Clinton and Sandusky, as well as the Depot Family Restaurant in Sandusky.

Helmick sentenced the family patriarch — Haralambos Gonos, 53 — to 18 months in prison on multiple counts of conspiracy to structure financial transactions to evade reporting, and one count of conspiracy to engage in bulk cash smuggling.

The three sons — Andreas Gonos 29, Kyriakos Gonos, 31, and Chris Gonos, 32 — were each sentenced to two years probation.

During Thursday’s hearing in U.S. District Court in Toledo, Helmick said Haralambos played a far bigger role in the family’s financial conspiracy, as compared to his three sons.

“(Your sons) would not have come up with this on their own,” Helmick told Haralambos. “Now all three of them are convicted felons. You failed in setting an example”

Federal prosecutors were seeking a sentence of 18 to 24 months for Haralambos, citing the complexity and thoroughness of a scheme that allowed the family to keep money that was never properly taxed.

“(Haralambos’) conduct shows sophistication,” an assistant prosecutor said. “There are 31 instances set forth in the indictment. It shows sophistication of tax laws”

Helmick described the fraudulent financial transactions as sophisticated, and entirely foolish to carry out.

Helmick said he would have been justified in handing down a harsher sentence, but he took into account Haralambos’ cooperation with investigators, and his lack of criminal history prior to the discovery of the crimes.

In April 2013, immigration agents raided the family’s $671,000 home on Crosstree Lane in Sandusky and arrested Haralambos and his three sons, as well as his wife, Sofia Skoura, 52.

A federal indictment stated the family members made $1.8 million in financial transitions from 2007 to 2009 and failed to report the transactions as required.

Earlier last year, prior to the indictment, authorities stopped Haralambos and his wife at a Detroit airport and found they had about $15,000 between them. They were supposed to let authorities know if they had more than $10,000 on them.

The four men pleaded guilty to their respective charges last fall. In Skoura’s case, however, prosecution has been postponed to February 2015, although the court order authorizing the delay has been sealed, according to federal court records.

Prior to Thursday’s hearing, Haralambos agreed to forfeit about $189,000, along with a 2005 Porsche Cayenne and a 2007 Mercedes S550 — all traceable “to the commission of the criminal activity,” according to court documents.

Haralambos has six months to pay back the money to the Internal Revenue Service and he must also properly file his income for past years.

Prior to his sentencing, Haralambos had to watch as his three sons received their fate.

Helmick was more concerned with the history of substance abuse involving two of the sons, Kyriakos and Chris, as opposed to tax evasion.

As part of their probation, Kyriakos and Chris must undergo substance abuse treatment. Andreas does not have a history of substance abuse, according to court officials.

After a long string of clean tests, Kyriakos tested positive for marijuana on March 19, Helmick said.

And while the failed test was not a formal violation, it would still fall under his probation period.

“Do I have your attention now?” Helmick asked. “Yes” Kyriakos replied. “I certainly hope so,” Helmick said. Helmick and several defense attorneys noted the family’s close ties, an attribute the judge said played a small role in the sentencing. The family of felons has a better chance of living law-abiding lives, since they’re so close-knit, he said. Andreas’ attorney commended his client for being a family man, and he pointed out the long days and weeks Andreas will have to work when his father goes to prison. “Through all of this, he is just concerned about his father,” the attorney said.

The family’s attorney has previously said the restaurants should continue to operate.

Comments

JD's picture
JD

As I do agree that we must do something about the government. I also think that we must follow the laws. If you don't like the way they run the government and the laws that are written. VOTE THE IDIOTS OUT. We as a collective vote in the same people and yet think it will change.

usmc21

This guy is a scumbag! My sister worked for him and when she refused his sexual advances he actually slapped her in the face!

JERRY from SANDUSKY

I don't like paying taxes either but if I have to you all have to and so does he…

Nemesis

He wasn't convicted of failing to pay taxes.

SoldOnAcorns

NO SOUP FOR YOU !

ryan5r

MERICA!

looking around

I still say the old man looks like Saddam Hussein!

pptrsha

FRAUDULANT w2S ARE ABOUT TO COME OUT....

Dwight K.

If people don't like paying taxes or don't like the government then get the heck out if its so bad.

sugar

Get out? No the gov needs to get off our backs . You pick up the tab for their waste and abuse. Get informed, quit being a dupe.

Dwight K.

Well things could be worse. If people want to b&%ch and moan about how governments state or local are run then get off your butts and do something about it instead of bitching about it online.

sugar

What makes you think I don't ? Bully.

huronguy2

if they don't like it they can take their butts back to Greece. They should be thankful this is the only illegal activity they've been busted for because Lord knows they've gotten away with a lot.

JD's picture
JD

They were close they took their BUCKS back to greece

bullydogs1971

"he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone"....

Stop It

Taxation has zero effect on economic growth, IMHO. As a matter of fact, it seems to impede it. I can remember getting a weeks pay of about 3,000 gross and taking home less than half of that. I worked my physical and mental ass off for that. Do you reckon I won't get any of that back when said body starts falling apart?

Think again.

auction

My wife and i ate there and it was very good Food. U got a lot for the price. Looked clean enough for us. To Bad for the Taxes Fraud.

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