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What you need to know for 08/16/2017

Judge to Popolizio: Pay up or else

Judge to Popolizio: Pay up or else

The owner of a former Schenectady restaurant has six weeks to pay the rest of the sales tax he withh

The owner of a former Schenectady restaurant has six weeks to pay the rest of the sales tax he withheld from the state.

Frank Popolizio, 66, of Morrow Avenue, pleaded guilty in Schenectady County Court last November to one count of felony third-degree criminal tax fraud. Popolizio, owner of the defunct Pentagon restaurant on Erie Boulevard, failed to pay sales tax to the state for six quarters from January 2010 to February 2012. The amount of unpaid sales tax was nearly $100,000.

Prosecutor Katie McCutcheon told acting Schenectady County Court Judge Polly Hoye on Tuesday that Popolizio has submitted restitution checks of $30,000 and $33,236. McCutcheon said she was prepared to go forward with sentencing.

“It’s our position that the defendant has been given significant time to come up with this restitution and to date has failed to come up with the full amount,” she said.

Popolizio’s attorney, Dennis Englert, asked the judge for a delay in sentencing because he is optimistic his client can come up with the rest of the money.

Hoye scheduled sentencing for 9 a.m. Thursday, June 6. Popolizio was initially to be sentenced in January, but that has been postponed several times.

“This will be the last time there will be a postponement,” Hoye said.

McCutcheon said previously that the amount of jail time Popolizio faces depends on how much he pays in restitution. It could be anywhere from probation up to three years in prison.

Popolizio also faces charges in a separate case in Otsego County. He was arrested in January after his dog-breeding business, South Side Dogs, was raided by state police and troopers allegedly found dozens of malnourished dogs.

Popolizio faces two counts of grand larceny, one count of scheme to defraud and four counts of animal cruelty in that case, according to Otsego County District Attorney John M. Muehl. Popolizio is also accused of failing to care for dogs and cows that were found starving to death, and not paying for hay he purchased.

“He just took money for dogs and animals and never delivered the animals, refused to give the money back,” Muehl said.

That case is pending, and both sides are waiting for a judge to rule on motions, Muehl said.

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