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Failure to report $1 million in income from marijuana business could land man in federal prison

Man pleads guilty to not reporting income from business and using money to buy luxury cars.


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TAMPA — A Lithia man's life is up in smoke after learning the hard lesson that if you’re going to be in the marijuana business, you better report the income on your taxes.

Steven Brickner has pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return after failing to report more than $1 million in income he raised from investors for a marijuana growing and distribution enterprise.

He faces three years in the joint.

In addition to the jail time, he faces a $250,000 fine and must forfeit five classic cars: a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1970 Ford Mustang, a 1968 Chevrolet Corvette and a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro.

According to the plea agreement, Brickner’s troubles started around 2017 when he failed to tell his tax preparer about $1.05 million in income. The source of that money was investments he’d solicited and received for his marijuana business.

During the year, he used $491,000 from that business as well as others he controlled to buy five vehicles, including several of the classic cars and a 2013 Bentley he paid $100,000 for. Brickner, whose age was not released, also deposited $212,000 into personal bank accounts.

And he withdrew another $350,000 from bank accounts he controlled by wiring checks or making wire transfers to an unnamed automobile related business.

None of that money was reported as income, according to the plea agreement, and brought his nice dreams to an end. If the money had been reported, court papers say, “these funds would have resulted in a substantial tax due.”

A sentencing date has not been sent.

 

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