The owner of a popular DUMBO restaurant and event space shuttered last month pleaded guilty on Thursday to stealing $200,000 in sales tax and evading $1.2 million more, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said.
Jason Stevens, 41, and his corporation, Fulton Ferry Market Inc., pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree grand larceny and four counts of criminal tax fraud. The violations took place between 2009 and 2012, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson. Stevens faces between 3 1/3 and 10 years in prison.
Stevens was the owner of reBar, which closed in May after filing for bankruptcy. The sudden closure meant disappointment and anger for hundreds of people who'd scheduled upcoming events at the Front Street space, including couples who had already paid deposits to host their weddings there.
"When consumers pay sales tax they expect those funds to go into the public treasury. The state is dependent upon the collection of taxes to operate its government. Greedy business owners who illegally pocket sales tax or fail to charge tax in exchange for a cash deal are in fact cheating all New Yorkers," Thompson said in a statement.
Stevens is scheduled to be sentenced July 21.