Sandwich shop owners charged with tax evasion

BRENTWOOD - A Brentwood couple was arrested by Franchise Tax Board special agents last week on four felony counts of state income tax evasion and one felony count of concealing property, authorities 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 between 2004-07 and did not report more than $800,000 in taxable income. They currently owe the state more than $57,000 in unpaid taxes, not counting interest, penalties and the cost of the investigation, which state officials are seeking to be reimbursed for. Tax officials said they launched the investigation after the couple failed to respond to "numerous" notices demanding they file personal income tax returns. Authorities allege that in 2006 the couple opened a bank account using false social security numbers and deposited checks into the account to conceal their income. The Mezas were booked Jan. 20 and bail was set at $100,000 each. If convicted, they face three years in prison on each felony count.

********** Published: January 27, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 41