Tax cheat gets 18 months in prison

A Newport Beach contractor was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison for underreporting his income by about $2 million.

Over a five-year period, Jeremy Scott Levine, 42, gypped the government out of about $300,000 in tax revenue, according to a news release from the Internal Revenue Service.

U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow ordered Levine — who owns Newport-based JSL Construction and Landscaping — to pay an $80,000 fine to the federal government in addition to $300,000 in restitution to the IRS.

Levine admitted cashing customers' checks without reporting the income on his personal or corporate tax returns between 2006 and 2010.

Prosecutors said he also cashed checks in small increments to purposefully avoid federal rules that require financial institutions to report cash transactions larger than $10,000, according to the news release.

Levine pleaded guilty in July 2013 to one count of filing a false tax return and one count of structuring a cash transaction.

He will start his prison term in July.

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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