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ReBar Owner Does Not Have Money to Pay $1M Back to Jilted Couples: Source

By Janet Upadhye | June 16, 2014 2:12pm
 Jilted reBar couples protested outside of Jason Stevens' trial on May 15, 2014.
Jilted reBar couples protested outside of Jason Stevens' trial on May 15, 2014.
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DNAinfo.com/Janet Upadhye

DUMBO — The more than $1 million restitution agreement that former reBar owner Jason Stevens made with the Attorney General’s office is a "sham" because he doesn't have enough money to cover the sum, according to the couples and a source.

Stevens, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and grand larceny in Brooklyn Supreme Court last week, reached a deal in principle with the state attorney general to pay restitution to 73 couples who were out tens of thousands of dollars in wedding deposits after the venue suddenly shuttered, according to a spokeswoman for the AG's office.

But a source said that he does not have enough cash to cover the sum specified in the agreement, which is set to be filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

According to the source, the agreement, which has not been finalized, was made with the understanding that if Stevens came into money, he would be on the hook for it at that point even after the prison term that he is set to serve under his plea deal.

Under the terms of the restitution agreement, additional couples have 120 days to come forward and file claims with the AG's office, according to a spokeswoman.

The AG's office has also called about 25 other couples to make sure that they had stopped payment on their checks, the spokeswoman said.

The couples, who were at first ecstatic about the restitution, are now enraged to learn that they are unlikely to ever see their cash.

Christian Pascarella, who lost more than $17,000, called the agreement a "sham."

"I don't think we're getting a penny back from this man," Pascarella, 34, said.

But while Pascarella is grateful to the AG for attempting to retrieve his money, others think the office is wasting time.

"I am disgusted with the attorney general at this point," said Julie Villar, 27, who lost $20,000. "They used us to make themselves look good, but we won't see a cent of our money."

"This agreement means nothing," she added.

Stevens faces 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to grand larceny and criminal tax fraud for stealing more than $1 million in sales tax.

His lawyer, Allan Bahn, did not respond to a request for comment. The AG's office had no comment.