June 6, 2014
Ralph Anderson Rudolph, 57, owner of TB Mowers, Inc., has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $22,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send to the state, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.
Mr. Rudolph, who lives in Fort Myers, was arrested by the Lee County County Sheriff's Department on May 21, 2014 on felony charges relating to the theft of state funds and the failure to file 6 consecutive sales tax returns. If convicted, he faces 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. TB Mowers is located at 3453 Fowler Street in Fort Myers.
According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Rudolph collected sales tax from customers at his business. However, from February 2012 through February 2014, he failed to account for and to 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 Fort Myers at 239-338-2442.
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.