reBar owner pleads guilty to grand larceny, tax fraud

Kings County District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson, together with New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox, announced on Thursday that the owner of reBar, a now-shuttered restaurant located in DUMBO, has pleaded guilty to grand larceny and criminal tax fraud in connection with stealing approximately $200,000 in sales tax that he collected but failed to pass on to the state between 2009 and 2012.

He also admitted failing to collect approximately $1.2 million in sales tax during the same period.

Jason Stevens, 41, of 68 Jay Street, in Brooklyn and his corporation, Fulton Ferry Market, Inc., pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of second-degree grand larceny and four counts of criminal tax fraud before Acting Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew A. Sciarrino, Jr., who is expected to sentence the defendant to 3 1/3 to 10 years in prison on July 21, 2014.

With reBar's sudden closure, many couples lost tens of thousands of dollars in wedding deposits and had their wedding plans ruined by Stevens' crimes.

D.A. Thompson said in a statement, “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.”

Commissioner Mattox said, the prosecuting the high-profile case “sends an important message regarding fairness that business owners who fail to play by the rules will pay a heavy price for breaking the law.”

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between 2009 and 2012, the defendants operated reBar at 147 Front Street, in DUMBO and collected approximately $200,000 in sales tax from customers that they failed to remit to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. They also evaded $1.2 million in sales tax by failing to collect it for goods and services rendered. 

The case was investigated by detectives assigned to the Kings County District Attorney’s Detective Squad and by forensic auditors assigned to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

The District Attorney thanked Michelle Demeri, an attorney with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Team, for her contribution to this case. 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Gregory P. Mitchel, Chief of the District Attorney’s Money Laundering Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Toni C. Lichstein, under the supervision of William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.