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October 6, 2006

Quincy Restaurant Owner Arrested in $4,800 Tax Theft Case

The owner of a Quincy restaurant has been arrested on charges that she stole more than $4,800 in sales tax she collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Kimberly Wade, 26, of Tallahassee, turned herself in to the Leon County jail on October 5 on felony charges relating to failure to file tax returns and pay tax. If convicted, she faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Wade operated Country Boys Restaurant at 38 Alma Yates Road, Quincy, Florida. The restaurant is now closed.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Wade routinely collected tax from customers at her business. However, during various periods between August 2004 and September 2005, Wade failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that she had collected. Investigators found that Wade had illegally kept $4,813.77 in tax money. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection. Department of Revenue staff repeatedly visited and called Wade in an attempt to help her come into compliance with state tax law, but she failed to meet her 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 businesspeople 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 Tallahassee at 850-922-2666.