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February 17, 2010

Havana Subway Owner Arrested in Tax Theft Case

The owner of a Gadsden County Subway restaurant has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $67,200 in sales tax he collected from customers but failed to send in to the state.

Robert Blaine Register, 40, of Tallahassee, surrendered to the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Department on February 16, 2010 on four felony charges relating to failure to file sales tax returns and theft of State funds. Bail for Mr. Register was set at $5,000. 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 tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Mr. Register owns and operates the Subway at 102 East 8th Avenue, Havana, Florida 32333.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Register routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in 2006 and lasting through October 2009, he failed to file sales tax returns and remit sales tax with the state. Investigators found that he had illegally kept $67,238.64 in tax money. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the time 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 consistently fail to submit tax returns gain an unfair financial advantage over honest businesses that follow the law. 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 Tallahassee at 850-922-2671.