Owner of Mystic Pizza pleads guilty to tax charges

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — The owner of the Mystic Pizza restaurant made famous in a 1988 film has pleaded guilty to federal tax charges.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says 48-year-old John Zelepos of North Stonington faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to tax evasion and financial structuring offenses.

Prosecutors say that between 2006 and 2010 Zelepos diverted just over $567,000 from Mystic Pizza's gross receipts into his personal bank accounts and those of family members. They say he then filed false tax returns to hide the income.

Mystic Pizza has become a tourist attraction since Julia Roberts starred in the movie about the lives of three waitresses working at the small-town pizza parlor.

Zelepos is scheduled to be sentenced on June 23.