2 Plead Guilty in Conspiracy To Underreport Wages, Taxes

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The top executive of a pizza franchise and the owner of several company franchises pleaded guilty to federal charges in a conspiracy that involved underreporting wages and understating income, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service said.

The owner of the franchise Happy's Pizza LLC, Tom Yaldo, and the chief operating officer, Maher Bashi, were part of a two-year conspiracy that resulted in more than $2.1 million in unreported wages and corporate income, the federal government said Oct. 23. They were indicted in July 2013 along with the owner of the company, Happy Asker, and two business associates.

Bashi and Yaldo conspired to underreport the franchises' taxable income and payroll taxes, distributing the gains among themselves and other franchise partners, the government said.

At least three of the franchises in which Yaldo held an interest filed false tax returns for two years, underreporting more than $1.6 million in receipts, the Justice Department said.

Restitution for unpaid income and employment taxes is to be paid to the IRS by Bashi and Yaldo, the government said. The two each face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Two others charged in the case, Arkan Summa and Tagrid Summa Bashi, previously pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced in January. A trial for Asker, owner of Happy's Pizza LLC of Farmington Hills, Mich., is scheduled for Nov. 5.