Cash payments for genoa salami, capicola ham, and provolone led to a guilty plea for tax evasion for Nicholas Papanier, 57, who has been working to turn the Primo Hoagies chain into a successful franchise business.

Papanier, who owns Primo Hoagies Franchising as well as Nellie's Provisions in Gloucester City, often received cash payments from Primo franchisees when they bought deli products from him, according to documents filed in federal court in Camden on Friday.

Papanier diverted $556,664 in cash to his bank accounts during 2006, 2007 and 2008, in the amounts of, in order, $56,395, $349,264, and $151,005. He should have paid $189,656 in taxes on that, the documents state.

Instead, he kept the cash, and paid only $118,978 in taxes on his declared income of $518,082 over those same three years.

Papanier, who had no comment after the Friday hearing, could face five years in prison.

But the defense and prosecution agreed on sentencing guidelines that would call for a 12- to 18-month term. U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman said he would sentence Papanier on June 28.

As part of the plea bargain, Papanier, of Sewell, agreed to forfeit to the federal government $484,010 that had been deposited in his accounts.

In turn, the U.S. Attorney's Office, represented in court by Jason Richardson, agreed not to prosecute Papanier's wife, Regina, and lifted a government lien on their son's home in Blackwood.

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