For Charles and Mary Bangle, the pizza business meant big dough.
The husband-and-wife owners of the Manco & Manco Pizza restaurants, landmarks on the Ocean City, N.J., boardwalk for decades, traveled the country, bought custom clothing, and often had wine shipped from California.
According to prosecutors, that lifestyle was funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars skimmed from their own cash registers. On Thursday, Charles Bangle, 55, pleaded guilty to tax evasion in federal court in Camden. Mary Bangle, 54, pleaded guilty to lying to IRS agents when they questioned her.
Rocco Cipparone Jr., Mary Bangle's attorney, said the plea would help the couple put the investigation behind them.
"It's a good business they have, and they're good people," he said. "There were some errors in judgment."
There are three Manco & Manco locations in Ocean City, and one in Somers Point, N.J. The Bangles were arrested last year on charges that they concealed close to $1 million in income from their cash-only restaurant chain between 2007 and 2011, and failed to pay more than $330,000 in taxes.
The Bangles were employees of the Manco company until they purchased a controlling interest in 2011, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Charles Bangle monitored day-to-day operations, while Mary Bangle was responsible for handling cash and payroll.
On Thursday, Charles Bangle admitted underreporting taxes on his 2010 return by concealing about $263,000 in income, avoiding more than $91,000 in taxes. He also pleaded guilty to making cash deposits of under $10,000 into his personal bank account in 2011 to avoid taxation.
Charles Bangle's attorney, Vincent P. Sarubbi, said in a statement that his client had accepted responsibility, but indicated that Bangle did not agree with all of the evidence presented in the indictment against him, such as the amount he avoided paying in taxes.
"Certain factual and legal aspects of the government's claims still remain in dispute, and will be resolved at the sentencing phase of this process," Sarubbi said. "The appropriate forum to resolve those disputes is at the sentencing phase of this matter rather than at a protracted trial."
Mary Bangle admitted Thursday that she lied to IRS agents about the amount of cash she deposited into her checking account, which was more than the income listed on her tax forms. Cipparone said she was caught unprepared when the agents showed up at the couple's Somers Point home in 2012 without warning.
"While Mary's false statements . . . constitute a crime, she made them during an unannounced early morning visit to her home by two IRS agents, which would be a stressful and disconcerting experience for anyone," he said.
The couple pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler.
Sentencing is set for Oct. 8. Charles Bangle faces up to 10 years in prison, and his wife could be sentenced to five years. They each face a $250,000 fine.