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March 11, 2008

Gun and Pawn Shop Owner Arrested in Failure to File Tax Case

The owner of a Hillsborough County gun and pawn shop business has been arrested on charges that he failed to file sales tax returns and remit tax he collected, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Charles A. Allen III, 47, of Tampa, was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department on March, 10, 2008 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, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Allen also faces charges related to failure to file tax returns as required by law. Allen operated University Gun & Pawn Shop, 2012 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa, Florida.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Allen routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods between October 2006 and September 2007, Allen failed to file sales tax returns send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. 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 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 theft, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Tampa at 813-744-6506.