Jersey Shore pizzeria owner admits $208K in tax evasion

The former half-owner and operator of Mario’s Pizza in Ocean City pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal charges of evading more than $208,000 in payroll, personal and corporate taxes, authorities said.

Ernesto Cannuscio, 70, of Linwood, was involved in the well-known and popular pizzeria business from October 2013 to September 2018, according to court documents filed in the case.

“Cannuscio did not deposit significant amounts of cash receipts into Mario’s Pizza’s corporate bank account,” an IRS spokesperson said in a statement.

Cannuscio paid cash salaries to employees to avoid payroll taxes, according to court documents filed in the case.

“Cannuscio did not inform his accountant of cash receipts, nor of the cash payroll of Mario’s Pizza employees,” prosecutors alleged in court filings.

Failure to notify the accountant of unreported income caused the accountant to under-report gross receipts on corporate income tax returns “as well as transferred income (which) should have been reported on the personal income tax return of Cannuscio,” according to an IRS spokesperson.

“Additionally, Cannuscio evaded employment taxes by not informing the accountant of cash salaries paid to employees,” the spokesperson said.

Cannuscio pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to evade income tax. Sentencing is scheduled for October 25.

“Business owners have an obligation to properly report all income earned, whether paid by cash, check or credit card,” said Tammy Tomlins, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Unit of Investigation. IRS criminal investigation in Newark.

Tomlins said Cannuscio defrauded the government of approximately $208,448 in taxes. Conspiracy to evade tax carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a possible fine of $250,000.

Anthony G. Attrino can be attached to tattrino@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. To find NJ.com on Facebook.

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