The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 16, 2012

State: Eatery owner owes more than $160G

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

SELINSGROVE — The owner of Arby’s Restaurant in Selinsgrove and West Hazleton who is accused of not reporting or paying sales tax for more than two years, owes the state more than $160,000 in sales and withholding taxes.

Joseph A. Bissol, 56, of Hazle Township, was charged last week with 39 counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, 20 counts of failure to file sales tax returns and three counts of failure to file employer withholding tax returns.

Bissol served as the manager of the Arby’s in the Susquehanna Valley Mall, which was opened by his family in 1990.

Bissol’s business, JPB Associates Inc., which owns Arby’s in Selinsgrove and West Hazleton, did not pay $141,424 in sales tax owed to the state Department of Revenue between February 2010 and July 2012, according to the criminal complaint filed by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Bissol also failed to collect and send withheld income tax for several months between July 2010 and October 2012 totalling $24,333.

When asked why he didn’t pay up, Bissol said his business was losing money and he didn’t have the funds at the time, court records said.

He allegedly added that he used the sales tax money that was collected to “keep the business afloat” and cover payroll and other expenses, including the $5,600 a month rent for the location in the Susquehanna Valley Mall.

Arraigned before District Judge James Dixon in Hazle Township, Bissol was freed on $10,000 unsecured bail pending a preliminary hearing.