A 60-year-old Portola Valley man who failed to pay nearly $1 million in state taxes has been sentenced to six months in county jail with five years of supervised probation, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.
Old Port Lobster Shack owner Russell Howard Deutsch, who pleaded no contest to felony tax evasion and grand theft in February, was sentenced in a virtual hearing Aug. 19. Prosecutors had asked the court to impose a one-year sentence in county jail, while the probation department recommended six months in jail and the defense asked for two months' home detention, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.
Judge Susan Greenberg determined the county jail time could be served on electronic home monitoring, with a stay on the monitoring until Sept. 19, Wagstaffe said.
Deutsch is also subject to search and seizure, fines and fees, and genetic marker testing, and cannot possess dangerous weapons or ammunition.
In March 2016, Deutsch initially pleaded not guilty to charges of tax evasion, grand theft and fraud, including failing to pay $950,628 in sales taxes owed to the state over eight years. During a search of his home at the time, investigators found over $600,000 in cash, according to the District Attorney's Office. A defense motion to return the cash found at his home was denied in 2018.
Greenberg said the "lenient" plea deal was based on Deutsch's age, significant health issues and lack of any criminal history, according to the District Attorney's Office. The DA's office had asked for three years and four months in state prison.
Deutsch operated seafood restaurants in Portola Valley, Redwood City and San Jose. He opened the first Old Port Lobster Shack in Redwood City in 2006 and later expanded to Ladera, Napa and San Jose. The Ladera location and a relocated Redwood City restaurant remain open.
The case was continued to Nov. 6 for a restitution hearing. Deutsch remains out of custody on $290,000 bail.