Levitt, Son of Real Estate Developer, Pleads Guilty to Grand Larceny
NEW YORK (AP) _ William J. Levitt Jr., son of the developer who created Levittown housing developments, was sentenced Wednesday to four months in jail and fined $50,000 for stealing $200,000 from a family charitable foundation. Levitt, 60, must also spend four years and eight months on probation after he gets out of jail, and by the end of September he must repay the money he stole from the Levitt Foundation Inc. in January 1989.
Levitt, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty April 21 to a seven-count indictment charging him with grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument, and falsifying business records. The grand larceny count alone could have gotten Levitt 15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
While serving as a foundation board member, Levitt took the money and deposited it in an account intending to earn high interest, said Leslie Gersing, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office. He later withdrew it for his own use, said Gersing.
Levitt’s father, William J. Leavitt Sr., was sued by the attorney general in 1983, charged with taking foundation money.
Gersing said the elder Levitt and the attorney general’s office agreed that he would repay $11 million to the foundation. She said that by September 1990, Levitt Sr. had repaid $5.2 million. She said he still owes the rest.
The first Levittown was built on Long Island in 1947 and became a symbol of the newly-emerging suburbia. The mass-produced homes looked alike except for their color. The neighborhoods also had an initial racial policy that excluded everyone except whites.