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McDonald's owner admits failure to pay employment taxes

The owner of Rosemount's McDonald's could face up to five years in jail after pleading guilty Tuesday to failing to pay $627,437 in employment taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

According to information from the United States Attorney's office Steven Kopel, 61, of Rosemount, deducted the taxes from employees of S&P Foods, the company that operates the Rosemount McDonald's. But Kopel, S&P's president and chief executive officer, did not report the deductions or pay them to the IRS from 2003 to 2006.

Kopel paid the taxes in 2002 and early 2003 and according to the court received "regular mailings" from S&P's accountants that the taxes were due.

Kopel pleaded guilty to one count of willful failure to account for and pay taxes. He was charged Feb. 5.

Tuesday's hearing was uneventful. A plea agreement had been worked out in advance and only had to be approved this week.

Kopel declined comment on the issue, saying Wednesday only that he is working through the situation with his attorneys.

"It's just something that's my responsibility that I'm dealing with and I'm going to take care of it," Kopel said.

Kopel said the plea will not affect business at the Rosemount McDonald's.

Sentencing for Kopel has not yet been scheduled. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail.