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.


Dwight K.

It makes it sound like the Judge thinks the kids are too dumb to pull something like that on their own. Rules are rules..gotta allow them


Wow "rules are rules".....words from a slave of the US Government!!!!......So....in a free country a man can go to prison for not giving enough of his resources to the IRS,a corporation created by the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to a congressional statutory grant of authority (see specifically IRC § 7801). The IRS is not an agency of the United States Government.
The IRS is the strong hand of the Federal Reserve...A PRIVATELY OWNED BANK! When we are all born into this country we are assigned a name and eventually a tax number. (SS#) We are slaves to a system that thinks they own us and can STEAL as many of our resources as they possibly can.....FOR WHAT???? World wide drone strikes on innocent civilians including children...??? Anyone who sides with the courts on this one is a complete slave to the system that allows you just enough "rights" to give you the illusion that you are free! BTW THE FEDERAL RESERVE IS PRINTING OVER 65 BILLION DOLLARS A MONTH OUT OF THIN AIR!!!!!!!!!! IF I DID THAT I WOULD GO TO PRISON FOR COUNTERFEITING!!!! WAKE UP AMERICA YOU ARE BEING ROBBED! NO RAPED OF YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY TO PERPETUATE THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX AND TO PAY THE INTEREST ON OUR DEBT TO THE FEDERAL RESERVE!!! Shame on anyone who judges this man....i have had the pleasure of knowing him and he is a good man!! Where is his victim??? Who did he harm??? NO ONE!!!! NO VICTIM NO CRIME!!! Keep thinking your a good little American for paying you "fair share of taxes"...most of you do not know where that money REALLY goes and if you did there would be a revolution!!! OUR GOVERNMENT FUNDED SCHOOL HISTORY BOOKS TELL US THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION STARTED OVER A TEA TAX...BOSTON TEA PARTY....hmmmmmm...

From the Grave

Not that I totally disagree with what you are saying, but, if they don't follow the tax laws, is it possible that they don't bother to follow the laws/rules/codes for proper food storage and handling? Ahhhhhh...


Go inside the kitchen and your assumptions will or will not be verified.


So what? Show me where they've made people sick or go home. Many of those regulations actually result in lower quality food.


Well said Bulldogs1971 ..... someone is awake :) I wish more were.


I agree. I like the family and think they are all, hard working family men.... so what they hid a little cash to avoid getting screwed out of their hard earned money. They paid more taxes then 90 % of Americans. I would do the same as does every businessman and owner in this country. Glad to hear you didn't all get time and I wish your dad the best if luck


I pay my taxes as a small business owner...why shouldn't they?


Re:"I pay my taxes as a small business owner...why shouldn't they?"

I agree and I think a company like GE should also pay their fair share of taxes. Also I see that Obama went to NYC to speak at Sharpton's convention maybe he could have collected the back taxes that he owes. Warren Buffet advised that the rich should be paying more taxes yet he owes millions in back taxes. Also I read awhile back that federal employees owe 3.5 billion in back taxes maybe the government could just do a payroll deduction until they are current.

I think it is almost criminal that the government takes money from people then pays $400,000 to place a white fiberglass camel in front of a middle east embassy and a while back the Register did report the government paid $30,000 for a painting of a department head to hang in the department. It was also in the recent news that the state department cannot account for $6 billion and maybe someone should go to prison because of the $6 billion. I do realize the amounts that I have alluded to is nothing but pocket change to the government but there is much more.

I personally feel that I will shaft the government every chance that I get and do not feel guilty about it.


FlyBoy86: Because some think that because they are in business they are above the law. I don't think that a single banker went to jail...


At least I can say I did my part, lol.


Re:"Because some think that because they are in business they are above the law. I don't think that a single banker went to jail."

Not a single banker went to jail and Tim Geitner did not go to jail either. I think these folks should receive the same punishment that Geitner did.


Amen FlyBoy86. If they lived that luxurious American lifestyle, the least they could have done is pay their share, stay off the drugs, and give back to the community who afforded them that lifestyle. Instead they chose to catch a plane with a stash of cash heading "home". I bet there is alot of cash laying around where they are from.


Flyboy, please note they were not convicted of tax evasion or failure to pay taxes.

They were convicted of structuring transactions to not trigger reporting requirements. Essentially, all they were convicted of was vigorously pursuing their privacy.

Peninsula Pundit

They were convicted of nothing more than taking full advantage of the law. There were 2 people at the airport and had $7500 each. Well below the $10000 trigger. But the feds said no, you have $15000 between you and that's illegal. The defendants must've had a LOUSY lawyer not to beat that one.
If a big business does it, republicons laud them.

red white and blue

I agree also just wish more of us would stand up! When will american citizens have enough?

2cents's picture

"Have enough", not yet obviously!



I wish I could go to Nevada and stand with the Bundys. Screw the Gov every piece of it, it's corrupt .

Darwin's choice

Isn't it peculiar out there, the "occupy" people for a long time blocked businesses from opening, set up camps on gov owned lands, caused millions in damages/clean up costs, and barely was there any reaction from the government. Yet Bundys cattle grazing brings out the full weight of the government???? And over protection for a land turtle? Seems Harry Reid is up to something.....this is government gone bad!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Here's a great and literal "illustration" of the sentiment of your point, Darwin!


Redux: The EPA is attempting to redefine on a case by case basis what they think are "navigable" waters in order to more broadly seize regulatory power under the Clean Water Act.

Peninsula Pundit

Hold On!
Talk about republicon hypocrisy!
This farmer is taking money away from the tax coffers by not paying his bill to the BLM. Every other farmer out there pays his bill for grazing on federal land except this guy and the right wing loo-loos are saying what a great guy he is?!!?
Heck, why charge the oil companies anything, either?
Let them pump the oil out from under us to sell to China for FREE!
What a bunch of winners we have here.
You have absolutely no effin' idea what you're cheering for.
Carryin' the flags of our armed forces on horseback while stealing from the taxpayer!


My understanding is they dispute the legitimacy of the BLM's appropriation of the land in the first place.


BLM didn't "appropriate" the land because it was always under Federal control. He obtained his grazing permits and paid his fees until about 20 years ago. He could have continued to graze his cattle under certain restrictions the BLM had put into place to restore the riparian zones. He didn't want any restrictions and decided to fight. There are a lot of issues involved in this fight. Over-grazing is as damaging as over-farming. Some ranchers have made the adjustments, and some insist on doing things the way they've done in the past.


Re:"Carryin' the flags of our armed forces on horseback while stealing from the taxpayer!"

They have debated the issue and feel they are not wrong. I was just wondering if maybe the government could just take the case to court and let the court decide who is wrong and who is right and if the government is proven right in court then they could do what ever necessary to take whatever they should.


Re:"Carryin' the flags of our armed forces on horseback while stealing from the taxpayer!"

The Bundys debated the issue and feel they are not wrong. I was just wondering if maybe the government could just take the case to court and let the court decide who is wrong and who is right and if the government is proven right in court then they could do what ever necessary to take whatever they should.

Some people feel that Harry Ried and his son may have ulterior motives for the action taken in this case maybe they should investigate that also to determine if there is any problems


This has been through the courts repeatedly for the last 20 years. The last two decisions from two seperate Federal courts are it unless they could get the Supreme Court to take it. Every court has found that Bundy had absolutely no claim to the land. They have been fighting to get Bundy's cattle off the land, and for him to pay his fees for over 20 years, long before the possible energy company came on the scene. The land under consideration for the energy company is nearly 80 miles from the grazing land at the center of this fight.


I know the guys from the restaurant. They may have done wrong cause of their dad but they worked harder than most people I know. They cooked cleaned ran the cash register sat people. They were always nice when I went in to eat on weekeneds when the bar closed. I think they can turn themselves around and make the restaurants still a good place to eat. Run the business the way their dad should have.


I dont remember that name, when I use to eat there for 99 cent specials. I thought the owners name was Bobby. Is this his brother or the same person they called Bobby?

JD's picture

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.


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


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


He wasn't convicted of failing to pay taxes.





looking around

I still say the old man looks like Saddam Hussein!



Dwight K.

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


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.


What makes you think I don't ? Bully.


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

They were close they took their BUCKS back to greece


"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.


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.