Up until now, Upper East Side Italian restaurant Il Vagabondo (351 East 62nd Street, 212-832-9221) has been best known for its indoor bocce court. But now that owner Ernest Vogliano has pleaded guilty to tax evasion, there’s probably not going to be too much talk about the restaurant’s penne alla vodka.
Per the New York Post, Vogliano, 80, pleaded guilty yesterday to federal tax charges, acknowledging that he conspired to hide about $5 million at UBS and other offshore accounts as well as filed phony tax returns. Fully acknowledging his guilt, he entered a non-binding plea deal yesterday in which he will file amended returns, pay more than $940,000, and plead guilty to related state charges, which could land him up to one year in jail.
Still, not too bad of a result, given that he was charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the IRS, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison; five counts of subscribing to false federal income tax returns, each of which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison; and four counts of willful failure to file an FBAR, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Ironically, in Italian, “il vagabondo” means “the vagrant,” or the “the tramp.” Seems like Brillat-Savarin was right: This really is a case of “you are what you eat.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 23, 2010