The owner of an Ocean City Boardwalk pizza shop has pled guilty to filing false income tax returns for the purpose of evading taxes.
John Gaeta Jr., 54, a resident of Cherry Hill, Camden County, and the owner of Big Slice Pizza at 968 Boardwalk, filed his plea on October 23 in Camden Federal Court, before U.S. District Judge Noel C. Hillman.
Gaeta’s pled guilty to one count of filing false tax reports for the tax years 2012, and 2013, in an attempt “to cheat the government by not paying (his) fair share of taxes,” according to Jonathan D. Larsen, the special agent in charge, in a press release from the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Newark field office.
“Today’s guilty plea by Mr. Gaeta is another example of how serious we take tax offenses and that we will continue to vigorously pursue these types of investigations.”
Although not as well known as some of the other Boardwalk pizza shops, Big Slice enjoyed steady business and a loyal following. Its sign touts the food as “A Taste of Philly” and its menu claims Big Slice is “bringing South Philly Favorites to the Jersey Shore.”
In addition to Pizza, Big Slice served up many varieties of cheesesteaks, fries and appetizers.
The IRS release said Gaeta concealed his ownership of Big Slice Pizza by naming his wife as the owner even though she had no involvement in the business. Gaeta also caused his wife to report some of the income and expenses of Big Slice Pizza on her personal tax returns.
According to the release Gaeta admitted to filing the false returns, which did not report $375,882 for the 2012 tax year and $307,669 in the 2013 tax year of taxable income. The IRS said the total unreported income resulted in unpaid taxes due the federal government in the amount of $85,522.
When sentenced, Gaeta could face three years in prison and a maximum fine “equal to the greatest of either $250,000, twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain derived from the offense, or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary loss sustained by any victims of the offense,” the IRS release said.
Big Slice Pizza’s Boardwalk store was shuttered yesterday and was thought to have previously closed for the season.