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Published: Friday, 4/11/2014

Restaurant patriarch gets prison for skimming more than $1.8M


The patriarch of a Sandusky family that operates three area restaurants was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison for skimming more than $1.8 million in cash from the businesses.

Haralambos Gonos, 52, also was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Helmick to forfeit $188,070 and cooperate with the civil enforcement division of the Internal Revenue Service.

Just before Gonos was sentenced, each of his three sons — Andreas, 28; Chris, 32, and Kyriakos, 30 — were placed on probation for two years and ordered to pay $1,000 fines by Judge Helmick. They each pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to structure financial transactions to evade filing currency transaction reports.

Their father had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to structure financial transactions to evade filing currency transaction reports, conspiracy to structure financial transactions to evade filing Form 8300, and conspiracy to engage in bulk cash smuggling.

The men admitted to repeatedly making bank deposits of just under $10,000 between 2007 and 2009 to evade the filing of transactions reports and conceal the cash from the government.

Judge Helmick said that while the crimes were not violent, “They were serious. They were repeated. They were intentional, and they were somewhat thought-out or planned as well.”

He told Gonos that he had failed his sons, who worked with him at the Depot Family Restaurant and Dianna’s Deli in Sandusky and Dianna’s in Port Clinton.

The young men likely would not have come up with this scheme on their own, the judge said, and would not have wound up in federal court, convicted of a felony.

“You let your boys down,” Judge Helmick said.

The elder Gonos told the court: “I was wrong. I apologize. It will not happen again.”

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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