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November 18, 2010

Port Charlotte Businessman Arrested

Brian D. Melle, the former owner of Window Fashions of Florida located in Port Charlotte, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $11,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Mr. Melle, 44, was arrested by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department on October 25, 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. Mr. Melle owned BDM Industries Inc., which did business as Window Fashions of Florida, specializing in the retail sales and installation of window treatments. The business was located at 20206 Blaine Avenue in Port Charlotte.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Melle collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in 2006 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 Fort Myers at 239-338-2425.

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.