The owner of a general contracting business in Newport Beach was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison for cashing customer checks totaling around $2 million and failing to report the payments on his income tax returns.
United States District Court Judge Margaret M. Morrow also ordered Jeremy Scott Levine, the 42-year-old owner and president of JSL Construction and Landscaping, to pay $300,000 in restitution to the IRS and an $80,000 fine to the U.S. government.
Levine pleaded guilty last June to one count of subscribing to a false tax return for the 2010 tax year and one count of structuring a cash transaction. He is scheduled to begin serving his prison sentence on July 14.
According to the plea agreement, for the 2006 through 2010 tax years, Levine failed to report on individual and corporate income tax returns he filed the payments JSL received from customers for remodeling, construction and landscape services. Beginning in 2006, he directed many JSL customers to pay for some services by writing checks payable to Levine, individually, instead of to JSL. He would then cash the checks.
The result of this scheme–he failed to report annual income as low as $293,977 in 2006 and as high as $451,550 the following year–was about $300,000 in unpaid income taxes from '06 through '10, according to the government.
Levine also copped to having cashed checks of less than $10,000 to evade federal reporting requirements.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.