Michael Levitis, the erstwhile Lifetime reality show star and fallen restaurateur behind Brooklyn's now-shuttered Russian restaurant/cabaret extravaganza Rasputin, has just been sentenced to nine years in prison for mail fraud and fraud conspiracy. He was indicted last year on charges of defrauding about 1,200 people of close to $2.2 million through a fake debt relief agency, and has now pleaded guilty to all charges. Along with the jail time, he's been ordered to pay back that $2.2 million that he funneled into paying for his lavish nightclub, his mom's credit card bills, and two Mercedes, plus a $15,000 fine. Meanwhile, Mission Settlement Agency, the company he used to run the scam, has been ordered to pay a fine of over $4.3 million.
Levitis tried to ask the judge for a lighter sentence of just five years in prison, but the judge ruled his crime had been "extraordinary" because he specifically preyed on "desperate people drowning in debt."