February 21, 2007
The owners of an Orange County shoe store have been arrested on charges that they stole more than $40,000 in sales tax they collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.
Melixa Carbonell, 31, and Sara D. Shambeck, 32, both of Winter Park were arrested by the Winter Park Police Department on February 18 on felony charges relating to failure to file tax returns and pay tax. If convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Carbonell and Shambeck also face charges related to failure to file tax returns as required by law. Carbonell and Shambeck operated Shou’ture, Inc. at 339 South Park Avenue, Winter Park.
According to Revenue Department investigators, Carbonell and Shambeck routinely collected tax from customers at their business. However, during various periods between October 2004 and July 2006, Carbonell and Shambeck failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that they had collected. Investigators found that Carbonell and Shambeck had illegally kept $40,017.46 in tax money. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.
"All businesses must pay the taxes they owe to the state," said Jim Zingale, executive director of the Florida Department of Revenue. "Tax cheats steal money that is paid by the public and needed to support vital public services in Florida, such as law enforcement and education. They also steal a competitive advantage over honest businesspeople who pay their taxes. The Department of Revenue cannot and will not allow this to occur."
If you have information about tax theft, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Maitland at 407-475-1254.