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Brentwood Couple Arrested for State Income Tax Evasion and Concealing Property

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Public Affairs Office
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For Immediate Release

01.21.2011

A Brentwood couple was arrested by Franchise Tax Board (FTB) special agents on four felony counts of state income tax evasion and one felony count of concealing property, the FTB announced.

John Meza, 37, and Jessica Meza, 40, owned and operated seven sandwich shops and a newspaper distribution business in the bay area. The couple allegedly failed to file state income tax returns for the 2004 through 2007 tax years and failed to report more than $800,000 in taxable income. They owe the state more than $57,000 in unpaid tax. Interest, penalties, and the cost of the investigation will be added to this amount and sought as restitution. FTB initiated the investigation after the couple failed to respond to numerous notices sent by the FTB demanding them to file California personal income tax returns.

In addition, in 2006, the couple allegedly opened a bank account using false social security numbers and deposited checks into this account to conceal the funds from the government.

Each felony count carries a maximum sentence of three years in state prison.

The failure to report income is part of the $6.5 billion tax gap California faces each year. The tax gap is defined as the difference between the tax that is owed and the tax that is paid.

The couple was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on Thursday, January 20, 2011. Their bail is set at $100,000 each. Their arraignment date has not been determined.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case.

For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit: taxes.ca.gov.

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