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July 7, 2010

Local Business Owners Arrested for Theft of State Funds

Tammey L. Amodea, and Charles W. Long, the former owners of C. Charlie’s Enterprises, Inc., that did business as Crack of Dawn Boat Sales, have been arrested on charges that they stole more than $15,000 in sales tax that they collected from their customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Ms. Amodea, 45, of Bokeelia, was arrested by the Cape Coral Police Department on June 27, 2010 and Mr. Long, 43, also of Bokeelia, was arrested July 1, 2010, by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department. Both will face felony charges relating to theft of state funds. If convicted, each faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs.

According to Revenue Department investigators, the pair collected tax from customers at their business. However, during various periods beginning in 2005 and lasting through periods in 2007, they failed to send into the state all of the sales taxes that they had collected. 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 Fort Myers at 239-338-2425.