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October 4, 2010

Bar Owner Arrested

John J. Tarn, the owner of Whiskey J’s, Inc. located on Port St. Lucie Boulevard in Port St. Lucie, 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. Tarn, 35, who also lives in Port Saint Lucie, was arrested by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Department on September 30, 2010 on a felony charge relating to theft of state funds. 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.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Tarn collected tax from customers at the bar. However, during various periods in 2010, he failed to send into the state all of the sales taxes that he 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 Pierce at 772-429-2196.