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November 28, 2007

Restaurant Owner Arrested in over $12,000 Tax Theft Case

The owner of a Duval County restaurant has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $12,000 in sales tax he collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Carl Joe Gamble, 55, of Jacksonville, was arrested by the Jacksonville County Sheriffs Department on November 24 on felony charges relating to failure to file tax returns and pay tax. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines for each felony charge, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Gamble also faces charges related to failure to file tax returns as required by law. Gamble operated Carls Main Street Restaurant, 1748 North Main Street, Jacksonville, Florida.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Gamble routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods between April 2002 and December 2006, Gamble failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. Investigators found that Gamble had illegally kept $12,034.05 in tax 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 Echeverri, 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 Jacksonville at 904-359-6667.