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May 10, 2011

OCALA RESTAURANT OWNER ARRESTED

Loring Felix, 52, former owner of Felix's Fine Foods, Inc., has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $52,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Mr. Felix, Ocala, was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff's Department on May 6, 2011 on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to theft of state funds, failure to file six consecutive returns and refusal to file and pay taxes due. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as repayment of stolen taxes, interest, penalty and investigative costs.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Felix collected tax from customers at his restaurant. However, during various periods beginning in 2009 and lasting through periods in 2010, he failed to send into the state all the sales tax he collected, or file tax returns as required by law. The restaurant was located at 917 East Silver Springs Blvd. in Ocala.

"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 Vickers, Executive Director, Florida Department of Revenue. "Individuals who collect tax but don't send it in are stealing taxpayer dollars and gaining an unfair financial advantage over honest businesses. 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 Alachua at 386-418-4415.

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.