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Brentwood Couple Sentenced for State Income Tax Evasion and Concealing Property

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Public Affairs Office
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For Immediate Release

07.29.2011

Sacramento – A Brentwood man pleaded no contest to one felony count of state income tax evasion and one felony count of concealing property with intent to evade the collection of tax, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced. His wife pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of state income tax evasion.

John Meza, 37, was sentenced to serve 120 days in county jail; pay FTB nearly $163,000 restitution representing the unpaid tax, interest, penalties, and cost of investigation; and serve three years formal probation. Jessica Meza, 40, was sentenced to serve two years probation; 200 community service hours; and is jointly and severally liable for the restitution with John Meza.

The couple immediately provided FTB a check for $50,000 towards the restitution.

According to court documents, the couple owned and operated seven sandwich shops and a newspaper distribution business in the Bay Area. They 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. FTB initiated the investigation after the couple failed to respond to numerous notices demanding they file their delinquent California personal income tax returns.

In addition, in 2006, the couple opened a bank account using false social security numbers and deposited checks into this account in order to evade or defeat collection of their personal income tax due.

Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge William Kolin handed down the sentence yesterday in Department 18 of the Walnut Creek Superior Court. The case was prosecuted by Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Stacey Grassini.

FTB’s criminal investigation program identifies and investigates cases of tax evasion and tax fraud to encourage compliance with California income tax laws and maintain the public trust.

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

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