A former Lincoln businesswoman has been sentenced to two years of probation, 30 days in jail and $27,400 in restitution for evading sales and income taxes.
Andrea R. Christensen, 39, made no comment before Lancaster County District Judge Lori Maret sentenced her Thursday afternoon.
Attorney Dana London argued for probation saying, while the circumstances are difficult because of the amount that Christensen owes, she has no prior record and is working.
In August, she pleaded no contest to attempted sales tax evasion, three counts of attempted income tax evasion and attempted failure to collect and pay over income tax in the case, which arose from an investigation by the Nebraska Attorney General's Office.
In 2016, more than 150 customers and consultants had complained to the office about Christensen's former businesses, Pixi Chix and State 51 Wear, a spokeswoman said then.
Customers said they paid for custom-made merchandise and never received it, received only part of it or received their items months after they were promised.
On Thursday, Corey O'Brien, chief of the criminal bureau at the Attorney General's Office, said the state didn't oppose probation in order to recoup the losses.
"It's fairly obvious that Ms. Christensen got into a situation that she was incapable of handling," he said.
Christensen was taking income taxes out of employee wages and charging sales tax and keeping the money. O'Brien said it was disappointing that it got to this degree.
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Maret said that was tens of thousands of dollars that had to go somewhere.
"I don't know that it was exactly a scheme on your part but it certainly was a hole that you dug that just got bigger and bigger," Maret told Christensen.
She said she didn't find Christensen's explanation — that she just didn't understand what was going on and was trying to get into compliance — very credible.
In 2016, the Attorney General's office also filed a lawsuit against Christensen and her companies alleging she violated the Nebraska Consumer Protection Act and Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, among other laws.
In 2018, she and her businesses admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to pay $7,500 in a settlement.
Both businesses are defunct, according to state business records.