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November 28, 2011

Ocala Businesswoman Arrested for Theft of State Funds

Stephanie J. Bowles, 33, former employee of All Jacked Up ATVs, an all terrain vehicle dealership, has been arrested on charges that she stole more than $14,000 in sales tax she collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Ms. Bowles, Ocala, was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department on November 16, 2011 on a felony charge relating to theft of state funds. If convicted, she 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. The dealership was located at 12128 South East US Highway 441 in Belleview.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Ms. Bowles collected tax from customers at her dealership. However, during various periods beginning in 2007 and lasting through periods in 2010, she failed to send into the state all of the sales taxes that she had collected. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.

"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 308-418-4444.

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.