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February 28, 2007

Realty Business Owner Arrested in $12,000 Tax Theft Case

The owner of a Broward County realty business and former Hollywood resident 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.

Richard A. Radney, 38, of Brooklyn, New York, was arrested by members of the New York City Police Department on February 26, 2007 on felony charges relating to failure to register to pay taxes and failure to pay tax. 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. Radney operates R J S Realty, Inc., doing business at 4261 Griffin Road, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Radney was the president of R J S Realty, a commercial realty landlord, operating in Broward County.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Radney routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods between February 2002 and February 2006, Radney failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. Investigators found that Radney had illegally kept $12,784.20 in tax money. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection. Department of Revenue staff repeatedly communicated with Radney in an attempt to help him come into compliance with state tax law, but he failed to meet his legal obligations.

"To be fair, tax law must apply uniformly to all businesses," said Jim Zingale, executive director of the Revenue Department. "Tax cheats steal money that the public pays to support vital public services, such as law enforcement and education. They also steal a competitive advantage over honest business people who pay their taxes. The Department of Revenue cannot and will not allow this to occur."

If you have information about tax theft, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Coral Springs at 954-346-2805.