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November 14, 2011

Former Ocala Convenience Store Owner Arrested

Chirag Patel, 38, former owner of Chitrakrishna, Inc., that did business as BP Food Mart, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $33,000 in sales tax he collect from customers, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Mr. Patel, who also lives in Ocala, was arrested by the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on November 14, 2011 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, repayment of sales tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Patel collected tax from customers at his convenience store. However, during various periods beginning in 2009 and lasting through periods in 2010, he failed to send into the state all the taxes he collected from his customers. The business was located at 3710 South West College Road in Ocala.

"It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements," said Lisa Vickers, 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 worse intentionally collect and steal taxpayer dollars."

If you have information about tax crimes, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Alachua at 386-418-4415.

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.