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Del Mar-based CEO pleads guilty to failing to pay millions in employment taxes

DEL MAR — A Del Mar-based CEO admitted failing to pay nearly $5 million in payroll taxes, penalties and interest to the IRS, the Department of Justice announced today.

Michael Todd Lucas, CEO of i3 Brands Inc., also controlled a number of other companies and “caused the businesses to spend thousands of dollars for his personal benefit” while failing to fully pay taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks to the IRS, according to the Department of Justice.

The DOJ said Lucas “had significant control over the finances of these companies,” but from 2008 to 2017, “failed to pay more than $4.9 million in payroll taxes, penalties and interest.” The tax loss exceeds $1.4 million, according to court documents.

Lucas, who pleaded guilty Tuesday in San Diego federal court, faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 4.

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