The owner of Tony’s Pizza House in Protem, MO, Tony E. Cowden, was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison with no possibility of parole after pleading guilty to five counts of tax evasion.
Cowden had listed his business and property for sale in 2015 and undercover agents, posing as potential buyers met with Cowden. During the meeting, Cowden could not substantiate the sales price of $599,000 with the income on record, but told the agents that, “it saves me a lot of taxes.” He admitted to them that he pocketed all of the money from the sale of Keno-Lotto tickets and the cash received from his restaurant’s arcade games. He also offered his customers discounts on their meals if the bill was paid in cash.
The loss to the IRS was $91,037 and the state loss on income and sales tax $47,490 which he must pay in restitution plus $29,581 to the Social Security Administration for disability payments he was not entitled to receive.