CAMDEN — Almost 100 members of the community came out in support of Charles Bangle on Friday as he was sentenced to 15 months in prison for tax evasion.
The owners of Manco and Manco Pizza in Ocean City and Somers Point pleaded guilty in 2015 to tax evasion in 2010, structuring cash transactions in 2011 and lying to the IRS.
Charles Bangle, 57, of Somers Point, will serve 15 months incarcerated, followed by three years of supervised release. His wife, Mary Bangle, 56, will serve three years’ probation.
Judge Robert B. Kugler ordered the Bangles to pay $248,560 in restitution.
The sentencing was delayed six times in the past two years.
Before sentencing, Kugler cited the historical nature of the 60-year-old, cash-only Boardwalk business, describing the procedure of how the Bangles were able to hide their earnings by “getting bags full of cash delivered to the house covered in pizza dough.”
Kugler was critical of the Bangles’ expansion of the Manco and Manco business on the Ocean City Boardwalk with a 200-seat “superstore” at Ninth Street currently under construction at the old Strand Theatre.
Kugler noted the significant financial investment of such an undertaking, as well as the fact the Bangles are still paying back a loan used to buy the remainder of the business from the Mack family in 2011.
“So they have the money to pay for this business expansion, but have apparently never paid a penny of debt they owe to the citizens of the United States,” Kugler said.
The Bangles’ attorney, Laurence Shtasel, of Philadelphia, said the Bangles plan to repay the government after negotiating a final sum with the IRS.
Shtasel described the Bangles as living a modest and charitable life for which they never sought recognition.
U.S. Assistant Attorney Jason Richardson called tax evasion “a serious crime” that affects the common good. He said that while it was easy to be so charitable in public, most tax offenses happen in private.
Several people in the courtroom spoke to the Bangles’ character, asking the judge for leniency in sentencing.
Tom Rossi, a general manager at the pizza place, said the Bangles helped him and his wife afford a honeymoon.
Justine Beale, a longtime employee and a teacher, said the Bangles paid for a hotel for him when his house was without power after a storm in June 2012.
All of the people giving testimony Friday described the Bangles as family and important pillars of Ocean City.
Several members of local law enforcement also spoke, including Ocean City Police Detective Robert Koob.
“Their generosity is overwhelming,” Koob said.
Mary Bangle also spoke on behalf of her husband, describing how she and her mother, Kay, who also attended the proceeding, relied on Charles for everything.
“He’s my hero, my angel, my best friend, and he makes me a better person,” Mary Bangle said.
Charles Bangle also spoke before the sentencing, admitting he had made a mistake.
Bangle said he was embarrassed by what he had done. Bangle also described how he and Mary came to own the business and plans for building it up, his contributions to the community and support of his employees. He spoke about his health, having had a stroke in 2015 while at work.
Kulger said he was impressed by the outpouring of support from the community but concerned with the lack of realization by Bangles’ supporters — particularly public employees — of the seriousness of the crime.
“Their jobs wouldn’t exist if people didn’t pay taxes,” Kugler said. “Because he didn’t, the rest of you had to make up for it with your taxes.”
Kugler said the “travesty” as some speakers called it is entirely self-inflicted by the Bangles.
“Mr. Bangle shows very little remorse for what he has done,” Kugler said.
Charles Bangle’s prison sentence will begin Sept. 10, he said. He was ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and is not permitted to open any new lines of credit or make any new credit charges without approval.