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‘Soup Nazi' Company CFO Charged With Avoiding Thousands in Taxes

No soup for you!

Shaq Serves Up Delicious The Original SoupMan Soups To Celebrate Nationwide Supermarket Launch Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The Original SoupMan

While the Soup Nazi earned a reputation for requiring customers to follow strict rules, apparently the company didn’t think rules applied to them. The CFO of Soupman Inc. — which sells soup and licenses franchises based on Al Yeganeh’s former restaurant, Soup Kitchen International — Robert Bertrand has been charged with tax evasion for avoiding “hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax payments” by paying employees off the books, The New York Times reports.

Yeganeh, who has been adamant in expressing how offended he was over the “Soup Nazi” nickname coined on Seinfeld back in 1995, was not charged by federal prosecutors.

Bertrand allegedly paid staff in cash and stock assets and didn’t report it, “even after he acknowledged the objections of an external accountant,” according to the Times. In total, he paid people $2.85 million off-the-books — meaning nearly $600,000 in taxes that the company didn’t pay between 2010 and 2014, prosecutors allege.

If convicted, Bertrand could be sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on $50,000 bail and pleaded not guilty, according to the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York.

The Times reminds readers how Yeganeh got his name:

The real Mr. Yeganeh set three rules for customers at his original shop, Soup Kitchen International, near the corner of 55th Street and Eighth Avenue: “Pick the soup you want! Have your money ready! Move to the extreme left after ordering!”

Soup Kitchen International opened in 1984 and closed in 2004 when Yeganeh shifted gears to focus on a national franchise operation — which didn’t go so well. It reopened in 2010 as “The Original Soupman.”

It’s not the first time Bertrand has led the company into legal hot water. In 2012, Soup Kitchen International, which had filed for bankruptcy, said that Yeganeh was put on the back burner after Soupman Inc. owners, with Bertrand listed as the defendant, mismanaged the company. Bertrand was the CFO back then, too. The case was settled.

The Original Soupman website lists locations in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York — nine total. In 2012, the company had 32 locations.

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