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Ex pizza kingpin charged


Police arrested the man who went from building Pizza Pizza into a fast food empire to convict.

Police arrested the man who went from building Pizza Pizza into a fast food empire to convict.

Lorn Austin faces charges of income tax evasion.

The Canadian-born Austin, who now lives in Florida and no longer works for Pizza Pizza, surrendered to police in early November and appeared in a Toronto court for a bail hearing late last year.

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Federal prosecutors allege Austin, 57, kept secret from the taxman more than $2 million in payments Pizza Pizza made to him between 1993 and 2001. Prosecutor Rob Goldstein told court that Austin willfully evaded paying about $650,000 in taxes on that money.

Pizza Pizza is not under investigation.

In the 1990s, Austin was at the centre of a battle between franchisees and management. The franchisees alleged the company treated them unfairly and Austin and company owner Michael Overs eventually faced the franchisees in court. The company ended up paying some of the franchisees a small amount of money.

Austin also has a criminal record. He was convicted of fraud in Toronto in 1977 and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and make $14,500 in restitution payments.

In 1986 he was convicted of racketeering, credit card fraud, grand theft and possession of property obtained by crime. Austin was sentenced to prison and paroled in 1989.