STAFFORD, NJ - The owner of a popular Manahawkin diner has pleaded guilty to tax evasion. The owner of Nick's Horizon Diner on East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin has admitted that he failed to account for all his income on his 2010 federal tax return.

​Nikolaos Psaros, 55, of Palisades Park, plead guilty yesterday to a count of personal tax evasion pertaining to his 2010 tax return. Sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton is scheduled for Sept. 1. He faces a maximum prison term of up to five years as well as fines.

Psaros has agreed to pay any back taxes that are due as well as penalties and interest, said Psaros' attorney, Michael S. Weinstein of Cole Schotz in Hackensack. "He'll be making amends with the government as part of the plea."

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Psaros also owns Mariner's Cove, a restaurant in Brielle. Both restaurants are expected to remain open, according to his lawyer. The restaurants will be operated by family members and others. 

During that time period, Psaros did not accept credit cards. This was a cash-only business. That policy at the restaurant has since changed.  

Psaros didn't deposit all of the revenue from Horizon Diner and Mariner's Cove into the business and payroll accounts. He is charged with diverting restaurant revenue into his pesonal bank account. Psaros also used the gross cash receipts from the two restaurants to fund cash payrolls and other expenses, authorities said.

When he hired an accountant to prepare his 2010 joint federal income tax return, Psaros only reported as income to the accountant the money he deposited into the business and payroll accounts, and not the money diverted to his own personal account or for cash payrolls, authorities said.

In addition, Psaros didn't properly report all of the income he earned in 2009 on his personal income tax return, failed to pay over payroll taxes and failed to file accurate employer federal tax returns for the two restaurants for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012.  

In total, the tax loss to the federal government was $480,474.91.