NEW YORK — John, Helen, and Dimitrios Zourdos, owners and operators of Dippin Donuts in Rome, have been scheduled to be sentenced on July 13 following their tax evasion convictions in Federal Court late last year.
The date was established following Judge David N. Hurd’s denial of the defendants’ pleas to vacate the guilty verdicts and retry them.
Each member of the Zourdos family faces at least five years in federal prison – John, 68, Hellen, 64, and Dimitrios, 38.
All three defendants were convicted on Nov. 10 following a nearly two-week trial in Utica Federal Court. They were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, seven counts of tax evasion, and seven counts of aiding and abetting the filing of fraudulent corporate income tax returns.
Between 2013 and 2017, prosecutors charged the Zourdos family with diverting approximately $3 million in cash sales from their business, Dippin Donuts. Two Dippin establishments are located in Rome, while one is located in New Hartford. Prosecutors allege that the family transferred upwards of $1 million into their personal bank accounts without informing their accountant, allowing for the filing of fake tax returns — both personal and corporate — throughout that time period.
Following the convictions, the Zourdos family’s defence attorneys were permitted several months to file motions to vacate the convictions and for a new trial. Additionally, the United States Attorney’s Office was given time to respond to the motions.
Earlier this month, Judge Hurd refused the defence requests.
“When viewed in the government’s favour, there was more than enough evidence for a logical factfinder to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that defendants plotted to deceive the IRS,” Hurd wrote in his denial.
“In summary, the trial evidence indicated that defendants purposefully stole large sums of cash from the donut stores and then concealed the funds from their accountants…
Defendants assert that there are innocent, or at the very least reasonable, justifications for this conduct…
The problem with this good-faith claim is that there was sufficient evidence to determine that defendants’ routine cash diversion from the firm was part of a knowing and willful conspiracy to evade taxes.”
The sentencing hearing will take place at the Utica federal courtroom.
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