Mystic Pizza Owner Goes To Jail For Tax Evasion

Mystic Pizza Owner Goes To Jail For Tax Evasion
Mystic Pizza Daniel Morrison / Flickr CC BY 2.0

John Zelepos, the owner of the famous Mystic Pizza restaurant, has recently been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in federal court to a year and one day in prison for tax evasion. Federal authorities had found that Zelepos had been concealing a huge chunk of income in order to be able to evade taxes. He has been charged with attempted tax evasion and financial structuring offenses.


The Hartford Courant reports that Zelepos, 49, had managed to conceal hundreds of thousands of dollars. He typically reports an average of more than $470,000 in taxable income each year during the past five years, as found by federal prosecutor Peter S. Jongbloed when he had gone over a memo written by IRS investigators. The lowest income he had ever reported was $299,000 while the highest was $785,000.

Zelepos concealed money

Zelepos has been accused of hiding money in a number of business and family accounts, allowing him to evade as much as $234,407 in federal taxes. Back in January 2010, Zelepos undertook 61 transactions on cash deposits that were all under $10,000. Federal law only requires transactions over $10,000 to be reported. The said transactions added up to $522,658.

Some of Mystic Pizza’s profits were diverted to personal and family accounts

Aside from this, Zelepos has also been accused of declaring as much as $162,000 as salaries of his mother and brother. However, neither family members are actually employed by Mystic Pizza. Moreover, The Hollywood Reporter says that prosecutors had found that Zelepos diverted over $330,000 from Mystic Pizza profits to his personal accounts and accounts of family members between 2006 and 2010.

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Zelepos is wealthy

Meanwhile, what seems to be undeniable is Zelepos’ current wealth. For starters, he is also an owner of a property management company that is currently managing four properties. At the same time, he lives in a home in North Stonington that is reportedly worth $750,000. Aside from that, Zelepos has three cars, one of which is a Porsche.

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To this, Jongbloed stated, “The defendant’s financial statement makes crystal clear he is a financially wealthy person who has no valid financial reason for not paying all his federal taxes.”

What makes Mystic Pizza famous

Mystic Pizza was actually started in 1973 by the Zelepos family. It grew in popularity after Julia Roberts filmed the movie “Mystic Pizza” right in the restaurant. The movie hit theaters in 1988. Mystic Pizza currently has two restaurant branches and a frozen pizza line.