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Restaurateur faces prison over taxes

— Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney announced on Friday, Nov. 9, that Frank Popolizio, 66, of 2369 Morrow Ave. in Niskayuna, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal tax fraud in the third degree, a felony, during his arraignment on an 11-count indictment for consistently failing to file sales tax returns and failing to pay sales tax to the state Department of Taxation and Finance.

In exchange for Popolizio’s guilty plea, he faces a maximum of 1 to 3 years in state prison. He also must pay full restitution to the state, which totals nearly $99,000. The state maintained its ability to seek civil penalties and interest against Popolizio.

The indictment relates to Popolizio’s operation of The Pentagon 1978, Inc., which was a restaurant located on Erie Boulevard in Schenectady from September 2009 to February 2012. Popolizio admitted he collected sales tax from restaurant customers and failed to remit them to the state. Popolizio failed to pay sales tax for the entire operation of the restaurant.

The case was brought to the attention of the District Attorney’s Office by the state Department of Taxation and Finance Criminal Investigations Division.

The indictment included the charges of grand larceny in the second degree, five counts of criminal tax fraud in the third degree and four counts of criminal tax fraud in the fourth degree, all felonies, and criminal tax fraud in the fifth degree, a misdemeanor.

Popolizio is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 25.

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