General Crime

* John Meza and Jessica Meza Sentenced for Tax Evasion

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A Brentwood couple was sentenced Thursday after pleading no contest to charges of state tax evasion, according to the Franchise Tax Board. John Meza, 37, pleaded no contest in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Walnut Creek to one felony count of state income tax evasion and one felony count of concealing property with intent to evade tax collection. His wife, Jessica Meza, 40, pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of state income tax evasion, according to the tax board. John Meza was sentenced to serve 120 days in county jail and three years’ formal probation.

Jessica Meza was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service. Together the couple was ordered to pay $163,000 in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties and to cover the cost of the investigation. According to court documents, the couple owned seven sandwich shops and a newspaper distribution business in the Bay Area. They were accused of failing to file state income tax returns for 2004 through 2007 and failing to report more than $800,000 in taxable income. In 2006 the couple also allegedly opened a bank account using false social security numbers, which they used to deposit checks in an effort to hide their personal income.

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