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November 16, 2010

Campus Restaurant Owner Arrested

Amos A. Smith, owner of Junior’s Restaurant located in Gainesville, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $26,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Mr. Smith, 66, Gainesville, was arrested by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department on November 8, 2010 on a felony charge relating to theft of state funds. 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, penalty and investigative costs.

According to Revenue Department investigators Mr. Smith collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in 2008 and lasting through periods in 2009, he failed to send to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. Investigators found that Mr. Smith had illegally kept taxpayers money. 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 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.