November 15, 2010
Ira V. Gates, the owner of Unlimited Graphics, LLC, a business that specializes in tee-shirt designs, has been arrested on charges that he stole sales tax that he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.
Mr. Gates, 52, of Pensacola, surrendered to deputies of Escambia County Sheriff’s Department on November 10, 2010 on felony charges relating to theft of state funds and failure to file six consecutive returns. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, and investigative costs.
According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Gates collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in 2008 and lasting through 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 Vickers, 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 Pensacola at 850-595-5188.
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.