February 25, 2009
The owner of a Jackson County tire repair shop has been arrested, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.
Richard Eugene Stevens, 50, of Cottondale, was arrested by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department at 10:00 PM, on February 23, 2009 on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to refusing to file tax returns. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Mr. Stevens owns and operates Gulf Tire and Repair, 2595 Kynesville, Cottondale.
According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Stevens routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods in 2008, he failed to file sales tax returns.
"Most Florida businesses do an excellent job of meeting the state's requirements for collecting and submitting sales tax, which pays for services Floridians need," said Lisa Echeverri, Executive Director, Florida Department of Revenue. "Individuals who consistently fail to submit tax returns gain an unfair financial advantage over honest businesses that follow the law. It's our job to ensure that Florida’s tax laws are administered fairly."
If you have information about tax crimes, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in
Panama City at 850-747-5614.