Former City Councilman Chaim Deutsch was sentenced to three months in prison Thursday for cheating the government out of more than $82,000 in taxes over the course of several years.
The disgraced Brooklyn Democrat, who pleaded guilty to a tax evasion charge in April, will also have to pay a $5,500 fine and restitution in the full amount of taxes he dodged, plus interest.
Manhattan federal Judge James Cott handed down the sentence at a lengthy hearing Thursday morning, saying a term of imprisonment was necessary to deter others from cheating on their taxes.
“A public official who filed false tax returns for three years must go to jail,” Cott said from the Lower Manhattan courthouse.
In prepared remarks, the former pol told the judge his arrest and subsequent guilty plea were the “hardest, most difficult [parts] of my life.”
He added that since his expulsion from the City Council, he’s found a humbling job as property manager at a Brooklyn apartment building, where he’s responsible for tasks such as “fixing a clogged toilet” and repairing broken windows.
His attorney, Henry E. Mazurek, urged the judge impose a non-prison sentence, arguing Deutsch has suffered enough by losing his City Council seat and will be forced to sell his home to earn enough money to pay the restitution he owes.
Mazurek also highlighted a career of good deeds done by Deutsch, who was born to Holocaust survivors and raised in a modest household in Long Beach and later in Brooklyn.
Deutsch pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for evading paying $82,076 in property taxes between 2013 and 2015.
At the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Eli Mark said he only stopped the scheme because he realized he’d be caught.
“As an elected official and community leader, Deutsch had a particular responsibility to follow the law,” US Attorney Audrey Straus said after his guilty plea in April. “Instead, over a multi-year period, Deutsch concealed his true business income to avoid paying his fair share of taxes.”