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Local News

Montecito Motors Owners Sentenced to Prison, Ordered to Pay $6.5 Million in Restitution

Chester Lee Taylor and Chester Adam Taylor will serve more than a decade behind bars after pleading no contest to charges of fraud, grand theft and tax evasion

The father and son owners of Montecito Motors were sentenced to more than a decade of prison time for embezzlement in their now-defunct business. Chester Lee Taylor, 72, and his son, Chester Adam Taylor, 41, pleaded no contest in May to dozens of felony charges for grand theft and tax evasion.

Chester Lee Taylor appeared in May in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, where he entered a no-contest plea to felony fraud and tax-evasion charges related to Montecito Motors.
Chester Lee Taylor appeared in May in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, where he entered a no-contest plea to fraud, grand theft and tax-evasion charges related to Montecito Motors. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)

The Taylors were accused of conspiring to commit grand theft, and the investigation showed they defrauded customers and filed false tax forms for seven years, according to the felony criminal complaint.

At Thursday’s hearing, they were ordered to pay more than $6.5 million in restitution, although it’s possible they’ll never pay it, Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota said.

The Taylors were ordered to pay $1,042,516 to the 27 named victims and $4.7 million to the Board of Equalization and Franchise Tax Board, plus interest and penalties. Authorities don’t believe there are any assets that can be seized for restitution.

The elder Taylor will serve 13 years in prison under his plea deal and was ordered to pay about $98,000 restitution to the Franchise Tax Board for unpaid taxes, reimbursing the investigation and penalties, Cota said.

He pleaded no contest to 22 felonies and had seven counts dismissed. He agreed to take on an additional year to lower his son’s sentence.

The younger Taylor, the owner of Montecito Motors, will serve 11 years in state prison and was ordered to pay $2.28 million for unpaid business sales tax, $2.9 million for unpaid business income tax, about $103,000 for unpaid personal income taxes, and investigation costs.

He pleaded no contest to 24 felonies and had 14 counts dismissed as part of the plea deal.

Both men were taken into custody at their May hearing and will now be transferred to state prison.

Jennifer Taylor, 66, the elder Taylor’s wife, and daughter Sarah Taylor Swing pleaded guilty to misdemeanor tax evasion, and have been ordered to pay restitution, interest and fines.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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