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August 23, 2010

Local Restaurant Owner Arrested

Ibrahim (Abe) J. Srour, 44 owner of the Remington Steakhouse has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $83,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Mr. Srour, of Lutz, was arrested by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office on August 18, 2010 on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to theft of state funds, failing to file six consecutive returns and refusal to file 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. Mr. Srour owns and operates Aurora of Tampa, Inc. which does business as Remington Steakhouse, located at 27405 Wesley Chapel Boulevard in Wesley Chapel.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Srour collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in 2008 and lasting through periods in 2010, he failed to send into the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected, failed to file returns and refused to file returns and pay tax due. 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 Port Richey at 727-841-4272.