April 12, 2018 / 9:24 PM / 8 months ago

'Soup Nazi' company's ex-CFO gets nine months prison for tax evasion

(Reuters) - The former chief financial officer of a company that licensed the name and recipes of the chef who inspired the tyrannical “Soup Nazi” character on the TV comedy “Seinfeld” was sentenced to nine months in prison on Thursday for tax evasion, according to federal prosecutors.

Robert Bertrand, 63, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn federal court, according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

Michael Weil, a lawyer for Bertrand, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bertrand, who was CFO of Soupman Inc, was charged by federal prosecutors in May 2017 with depriving the U.S. Internal Revenue Service of roughly $594,000 of taxes by failing to report $2.85 million of cash and stock that a subsidiary of Soupman quietly awarded employees from 2010 to 2014.

Soupman, which was not charged, suspended Bertrand when he was charged.

Bertrand pleaded guilty in December. As part of his plea, Bertrand agreed to pay about $78,500 in restitution, representing the amount he personally benefited.

Based in the New York City borough of Staten Island, Soupman sells products under the Original SoupMan brand.

It traces its roots to 1984, when Al Yeganeh opened his soup shop on West 55th Street in midtown Manhattan and soon began drawing long lines of customers.

Yeganeh was the inspiration for Yev Kassem, a character portrayed by Larry Thomas on a 1995 “Seinfeld” episode who was known for making customers follow strict ordering rules, or risk being shunted away with his forceful bellow: “No soup for you!”

Soupman filed for bankruptcy protection in June and emerged in September after its assets were acquired by Gallant Brands Inc.

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas

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