[UPDATE BELOW] Jason Stevens, the infamous owner of the defunct DUMBO gastropub and wedding venue reBar, is going to prison. Stevens pleaded guilty to tax fraud and grand larceny last month, and today he was sentenced to between three and ten years in prison. As you'll recall, Stevens abruptly shuttered reBar at the beginning of May, hanging a sign at the entrance announcing that the establishment was "closed and bankrupt," and disappearing, leaving dozens of betrothed couples in the lurch.
Police arrested Stevens about a week later on multiple felony tax charges and a grand larceny charge. As part of a plea deal, Stevens also agreed to pay $1 million to couples who have filed complaints with the attorney general, but any money he has left will most likely be hoovered up by the government first, to cover his unpaid taxes.
Newlywed Camille Hlavka, of Astoria, was in the Brooklyn courtroom as Stevens was sentenced today; she tells NBC New York she "lost $18,000 to him and ended up shelling out about that much for her July 12 wedding. She says she and her husband will probably never recover the money Stevens owes under the state-imposed restitution settlement, but believes just was at least partially served by his sentencing."
All told, prosecutors say Stevens took $1.8 million in deposits for weddings that were never held at reBar.
Update 3:15 p.m.: At his sentencing, Stevens apologized for the first time. "I have nothing else to give, but an apology that is in my heart," Stevens said, according to the Daily News. "I'm so sorry. I'll spend my time in prison trying to become a better man so when I come out, I can begin the long process of starting to repay the significant financial and emotional debts that I incurred."
And Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson said in a statement, "Today’s sentence sends a clear message that we will prosecute tax cheats and put them in prison for stealing money from the people of New York - money that we could use to hire more police officers and improve our schools and roadways."