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September 18, 2012

St. Petersburg Business Owner Arrested

Charles P. Cullins, the owner of Hi Seas Custom Canvas, a business located in St. Petersburg, FL, that specializes in the sale and repair of canvas products, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $21,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Mr. Cullins, 48, who also lives in St. Petersburg, was arrested by the St. Petersburg Police Department on September 12, 2012, on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to theft of state funds and refusal to file returns and pay taxes due. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible payment of penalty and investigative costs. Mr. Cullins's Business is located at 4351 34th Street South in St. Petersburg.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Cullins collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in 2009, lasting through periods in 2012, he failed to send into the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected or file his tax returns as required by law.

“It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements,” said Marshall Stranburg, Interim 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 Clearwater at 727-507-6305.

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.