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Latitude 360 owner accused of bouncing 439 paychecks turns himself in |

Latitude 360 owner accused of bouncing 439 paychecks turns himself in

Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
The former Latitude 360 restaurant and entertainment venue in North Fayette.
Brent Brown, owner of the defunct Latitude 360.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
A teary-eyed Laura Scimio, 35, of Conway, Beaver County, holds a paycheck from Latitude 360 during a news conference with fellow employees at the North Fayette entertainment vanue Tuesday, March 22, 2016. 'I was told to hold onto it until I get a text that I can cash it. They owe me over $1000,' she said. Scimio worked as a banquet waitress. There have been reports nationwide of Latitude 360 locations failing to pay rent and other bills. Many have closed.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Bowling counter host David Christie, 26, of Sarver leaves a fake padlock in front of Latitude 360 in North Fayette on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Christie is waiting to cash three of his paychecks from the business, which has been unable to pay some of its bills. Latitute 360 locations nationwide have encountered financial problems. Many have closed.

The owner of the defunct Latitude 360 chain of entertainment complexes turned himself in Monday on charges that he knowingly bounced paychecks for employees at his former North Fayette location.

Brent Brown, a Montour High School graduate who lives in Jacksonville, Fla., was arraigned before District Judge Anthony Saveikis and released on his own recognizance.

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of theft of services, a felony, and 33 counts of writing bad checks late last month after a total of 439 employee paychecks could not be deposited between September 2015 and March 2016 because the business had insufficient funds to pay them.

According to a Facebook post by the District Attorney’s Office, the investigation into Brown began with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s efforts to enforce wage laws and ensure that employees are paid. The case was referred to the county for prosecution.

Latitude 360 had locations in North Fayette, Jacksonville and Indianapolis. The latter two closed in January 2016 amid lawsuits over back rent and an unpaid loan from the landlord. The Pittsburgh location closed in March after it received an eviction notice and repeatedly failed to pay its Allegheny County drink taxes.

Brown’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 25. His attorney, Bill Difenderfer, could not be reached.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724 836 6660, or via Twitter @msantoni.

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