ReBar Owner to Get Up to 10 Years in Prison for Tax Evasion

By Janet Upadhye on June 12, 2014 11:32am 

Slideshow
 ReBar owner Jason Stevens will spend up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to tax evasion Thursday.
Jason Stevens Gets Up to 10 Years in Prison for Tax Evasion
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BROOKLYN — ReBar owner Jason Stevens will spend up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to tax evasion.

Stevens faces 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison when he's sentenced July 21 after pleading guilty to grand larceny and criminal tax fraud for stealing more than $1 milllion in sales tax, which came in the wake of the abrupt shuttering of the popular wedding spot.

The plea agreement did not satisfy many of the couples who showed up to Brooklyn Supreme Court.

“We do not feel justice was served for us," said Egon Smullyan, who lost more than $19,000. "We feel it was served for the state."

"Why is it a crime to steal from the government and not the people?"

Bride-to-be Stephanie Katch, 26, was happy that the former reBar owner would be put behind bars but still wants him to repay the $18,000 she is owed from her canceled wedding.

"I’m happy that he got jail time but where is our money and why aren’t we getting any charges brought up for what he owes us?,” she asked.

Dozens of couples were left out in the cold and stiffed out of thousands of dollars in deposits and fees after the venue closed its doors on May 9.

Jennifer Liseo paid Stevens $34,000 less than a month before the venue closed. Liseo and her fiancé, Nancy Nienberg, were the first couple to file a lawsuit against Stevens. Their lawyer, Victor Dunlop, served Stevens with lawsuit papers outside the courtroom Thursday morning.

"He rolled his eyes when he was served," Dunlop said.

Dunlop hopes to retrieve the full amount that Stevens stole from his clients, he said.

The restaurant at 147 Front St. in Dumbo had some 200 weddings and other events booked through 2016, according to prosecutors.

The Attorney General's office is also investigating the case, but the results of that probe were not immediately known.

Jason Stevens
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DNAinfo.com/Janet Upadhye

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