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Jul 11, 2012 12:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bob Stevens Makes Plea Deal, Avoids Jail

Jul 11, 2012 12:56 PM

The former owner of a bankrupt appliance store who was accused of stealing money from the 401K plans of at least two of his ex-employees pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on Wednesday morning and, as a result, will avoid jail time, his lawyer confirmed.

Robert L. Stevens, 68, of Sarasota, Florida, the former owner of Bob Stevens Appliances in Westhampton, pleaded guilty to one charge of attempted petit larceny, a misdemeanor, before Judge Mark Cohen at the Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead on Wednesday morning, according to Mr. Stevens’s attorney, James Pascarella of Mineola. He said his client was sentenced to a conditional discharge, meaning that if he stays out of trouble, Mr. Stevens will avoid prison and not have to pay a fine.

Mr. Pascarella noted that Mr. Stevens must still pay approximately $14,000, money that will be distributed among his former employees as compensation.

A spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request seeking additional information.

The former appliance store owner was arrested in March when he was charged with stealing more than $1,000 from his employees between October 2008 and May 1, 2010. Mr. Stevens was originally charged with one count each of fourth-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud, both felonies, according to authorities.

“I think that the business hit hard times,” Mr. Pascarella said after Wednesday’s court date. “Mr. Stevens is a good person who was trying to keep the business afloat and trying to keep his employees paid. This was a result of him attempting to do that.”

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