August 26, 2008
The owner of a Putnam County mobile home sales business has been arrested on charges that she stole more than $112,000 in sales tax she collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.
Mary G. Sprague, 48, of Hollister, was arrested by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department on August 25, 2008 on felony charges relating to failure to file tax returns and pay tax. If convicted, she faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Sprague operated D & M Mobile Homes, 888 State Road 20, Interlachen, Florida.
According to Revenue Department investigators, Sprague routinely collected tax from customers at her business. However, during various periods between July 2003 and April 2007, Sprague failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that she had collected. Investigators found that Sprague had illegally kept $112,744.78 in 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.