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July 31, 2006

Owner of Beach Services Rental Company Arrested in Tax Fraud Case

The owner of Emerald Coast Beach Services, Inc. has been arrested on charges that he failed to file six consecutive tax returns with intent to evade the payment of sales tax, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Phillip Randy Wilson, 51, of Destin, was arrested by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department on Friday on felony charges relating to failure to file tax returns. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines on each count, as well as possible repayment of tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Wilson operated Emerald Coast Beach Service, Inc., which had been located at 326 Mountain Drive, Destin, Florida.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Wilson failed to file sales tax returns for 12 consecutive months between April 2005 and March 2006 resulting in the charges of failure to file six consecutive returns with intent to evade the payment of tax. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection. Department of Revenue staff repeatedly called Wilson in an attempt to help him come into compliance with state tax law, but he failed to meet his legal obligations.

“To be fair, tax law must apply uniformly to all businesses,” said Jim Zingale, executive director of the Revenue Department. “Tax cheats steal money that the public pays to support vital public services, such as law enforcement and education. They also steal a competitive advantage over honest business people who pay their taxes. The Department of Revenue cannot and will not allow this to occur.”

If you have information about tax theft, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Pensacola at 850-595-5188.