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Tax evasion plea leads to seven years probation

August 09, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Richard Allen Cook, owner of the John Wallace Kitchen, a downtown restaurant, has been sentenced to seven years probation after pleading guilty to state tax evasion charges, according to a press release from Gregory C. Fajt, secretary of revenue for Pennsylvania.

Fajt said in a press release Monday that Cook, 55, pleaded guilty Aug. 1 to 25 counts, including failure to remit state sales taxes collected from his customers and state income taxes withheld from employees' paychecks.

He was sentenced by Dauphin County Judge Bruce F. Bratton.

The judge ordered Cook to pay restitution of more than $41,000 to the state in delinquent taxes, fines and court costs, the release said.

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The Department of Revenue's Office of Criminal Tax Investigations developed the case. It was referred to the attorney general's office after Cook refused to comply voluntarily, the release said.

Senior Deputy Attorney General George R. Zaiser prosecuted the case.

Cook, who could not be reached for comment Monday, said Friday during an interview on the proposed sale of the John Wallace Kitchen that the establishment would close Aug. 14, whether or not it was sold.

Cook did not mention his legal problems during the interview. The newspaper learned of them Monday from Fajt's press release.

Cook said Friday that he bought the restaurant at 81 W. Main St. from the Papsoutsis family in 1994.

He said he was selling it because, "Waynesboro's downtown is dying." He also said he was tired of working 15- and 16-hour days.

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