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May 27, 2010

Branford Glass Contractor Arrested in Theft Case

The owner of a Gilchrist County glass contractor that specialized in the sale and installation of glass products was arrested on charges that he stole more than $5,000 in sales tax he collected from customers and failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Jeffrey Brian Turner, 49 of Branford, was arrested by the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Department on April 19, 2010 on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to theft of state funds and refusal to file returns. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, and investigative costs. Mr. Turner owns and operates The Glass Mechanix, 10410 North West 27th Terrace in Branford.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Turner routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in January 2006 through October 2009, he failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. Investigators found that Mr. Turner had illegally kept tax money. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.

"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 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.