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March 6, 2013

Former Marion County Restaurant Owner Arrested

William F. Brown, former owner of Shuckers Oyster Bar, located in Ocala, Florida, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $16,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Mr. Brown, 47, who also lives in Ocala, was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff's Office on February 25, 2013 on felony and misdemeanor charges related to theft of state funds and refusing to file returns and pay taxes due. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen sales tax, payment of penalty and payment of investigative costs. Shuckers Oyster Bar had been located at 408 South West 16th Street in Ocala.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Brown collected tax from customers at his restaurant. However, during various periods beginning in 2011, lasting through periods in 2012, he failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that were collected and failed to file tax returns as required by law.

“It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements,” said Marshall Stranburg, Interim 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 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 386-418-4415.

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.