By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The managers of a popular local restaurant chain have been served with federal tax evasion charges.

Five owners of the “Nifty Fifty’s” restaurant chain are charged in a tax evasion conspiracy that allegedly hid $15 million worth of income, cheating the IRS out of $2.2 million in taxes.

potts nancy asst us atty denardo Area Hamburger Chain Owners Charged With $15M Skimming

(Assistant US attorney Nancy Potts. Credit: Mike DeNardo)

Assistant US attorney Nancy Potts (below right) says the operators are charged with evading taxes between 2006 and 2010, by “skimming cash from customer payments and receipts, and basically keeping them off the books of the restaurant.”

Prosecutors say the operators would then use that cash to pay themselves, their employees under the table, and their vendors.

Nifty Fifty’s runs five area hamburger-and-milkshake restaurants in Northeast Philadelphia, Ridley, Pa.; Bensalem, Pa.; Clementon, NJ; and Turnersville, NJ.

According to a federal “information” (similar to an indictment), skimming cash was a way of business for Nifty Fifty’s since its inception in 1986. However, the five owners are only charged with evading taxes between 2006 and 2010.

A statement from the company says Nifty Fifty’s owners take full responsibility for their actions, and that they have repaid their back taxes and penalties. The statement says the owners will continue to run their five area restaurants.

Charged are:

  • Robert Mattei, 73, of Del Ray Beach, Fla.
  • Leo McGlynn, 52, of Swarthmore, Pa.
  • Brian Welsh, 48, of Springfield, Pa.
  • Joseph Donnelly, 49, of Springfield, Pa.
  • Elena Ruiz, 46, of Drexel Hill, Pa.

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