Pizzeria owner accused of evading millions in taxes

May 15, 2002

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Salvatore Stellino, owner of Sal's Restaurant and Pizzeria, is facing a possible $250,000 fine and five years in prison for tax evasion.

In a report published in the Palm Beach Post, the IRS accuses Stellino of pocketing more than $11 million in cash receipts tax free.

Anthony Magnanti, one of Stellino's restaurant managers, is facing the same charges.

"It was a big joke over there at the businesses," IRS spokeswoman Ellie Michaud told the Post. "Some of the managers told us they used to say, 'This amount we report to Uncle Sal, and these others we report to Uncle Sam.' "

Stellino allegedly skimmed cash at 15 different restaurants in Palm Beach and Broward counties, and cheated the government out of more than $1 million in income taxes between 1993 and 1997. Most of the restaurants have been sold or are franchised to others.

"It's basically the cash. They reported the credit cards," Michaud said.

In addition to under-reporting stores' gross sales, Stellino and Magnanti are alleged to have misreported cost of goods sold and their own personal income.

"They had a double set of books," Michaud said. "One reflected the amounts reported to the IRS. The other showed the real income of the businesses."

Topics: Crime

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