BROOKLYN - A restaurant owner accused of jilting dozens of couples when his Brooklyn wedding venue and bar suddenly shut down was sentenced on tax fraud charges today.
Jason Stevens pleaded guilty to grand larceny and criminal tax fraud last month. He was sentenced today to 3 1/2 to 10 years in prison.
Investigators say Stevens abruptly shut down his business Rebar in Dumbo, and kept the wedding deposits of dozens of couples without providing any services.
Authorities say Stevens collected about $200,000 in sales tax from customers, but never handed any of it over to the state.
Stevens has been ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution, civil penalties and statutory costs.
In court, Stevens admitted to his wrongdoing and offered an apology to the couples he owes thousands of dollars.
Many of the couples who showed up to court to witness the sentencing say that Stevens' apology is not enough.
Stephens says after he serves his time, he will start paying back the victims.
There is still no word on what will happen to Rebar, but Stevens will not be the owner. He has been banned for life from working in the restaurant industry in New York City.