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February 18, 2014

St. Petersburg Restaurant Owner Arrested

John P. Spiering, 47, owner of NY Café, LLC, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $12,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send to the state, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.

Mr. Spiering, who lives in Gulfport, was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department on February 4, 2014 on felony charges relating to the theft of state funds and failure to file six consecutive sales tax returns. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines for each offense, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. NY Café, LLC is located at 6630 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Spiering collected sales tax from customers at his restaurant. However, from January 2012 through June 2013, he failed to account for and send to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected from his customers. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.

“It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements,” said Marshall Stranburg, Executive Director, Florida Department of Revenue. “For those that don’t, it is our job to enforce the law and ensure honest businesses are not placed at a competitive disadvantage by those who ignore the law or intentionally collect and steal taxpayer dollars.”

If you have information about tax crimes, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Largo at 727-588-6845.

Note: Due to the confidential nature of taxpayer records, generally the information found in this release is the only information available from the Department of Revenue concerning this matter. Other information may be available through the arresting agency and the local Clerk of Court.