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Jefferson Hills pizza shop owner waives hearing

| Thursday, May 23, 2013, 2:06 a.m.

A Clairton woman has waived her preliminary hearing on charges that she failed to pay $62,140 in state sales tax.

Pleasant Hills Magisterial District Judge Pat A. Capolupo ordered a formal arraignment for Bethany Verlich, 32, on June 11 at 11 a.m. at the Allegheny County courthouse in Pittsburgh.

State Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane said Verlich operated Original Pizza Works along Route 51 in Jefferson Hills for four years without a valid sales tax license.

According to a criminal complaint, Verlich bought the pizza restaurant from Ken Chotiner in August 2007.

Verlich faces one count of operating a business without a license, one count of failure to file personal income tax returns, and seven felony and 29 misdemeanor counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.

She also waived counts of misapplying entrusted/government/financial institutional property and of criminal mischief involving another pecuniary loss.

Verlich remains free on her own recognizance.

The attorney general said Verlich was notified in 2009 that her license had been revoked. According to court records the sales tax problem dates back to July 20, 2008.

According to the criminal complaint, Verlich told investigators from the state Department of Revenue on May 16, 2011, that she did not have an attorney or accountant because she could not afford either.

She also told authorities no one had given her any instructions about bookkeeping or how to handle taxes, that her methods evolved over the years.

The complaint said Verlich used money not turned over in sales tax to keep her business going.

William F. Caye II is the state's prosecutor. Verlich is represented by Jefferson Hills attorney Charles LoPresti.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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