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March 15, 2012

Former Co-owner of a Local Restaurant Sentenced in Theft Case

Escambia County Circuit Judge W. Joel Boles today adjudicated Daniel J. Levitan guilty and sentenced him to 10 years in state prison followed by 20 years of probation and he was ordered to pay restitution and court costs. The 10 years of incarceration will be served consecutive to a five year sentence Levitan is currently serving for another count of grand theft. Levitan was convicted by an Escambia County jury February 17, 2012 on 10 counts of grand theft and one count of aggravated white collar crime. Levitan, 48, of Pensacola was arrested in August 2009 on felony charges relating to the theft of more than $88,000 in sales tax he collected from customers and failed to send in to the State. He was co-owner of Finnegan's Wake Irish Pub & Eatery, former located at 2100 West Nine Mile Road, Pensacola.

The other co-owner of the business, Pamela Haupt-Levitan, 49, previously entered a plea and was adjudicated guilty on 10 counts of grand theft relating to the theft of sales tax and was sentenced to 25 years probation and ordered to pay restitution and court costs. Pamela Haupt-Levitan testified for the state under the plea agreement.

According to the evidence presented by Assistant State Attorney John DuBose, Department of Revenue investigators found that Levitan routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods in 2008, he failed to 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 moment of collection. The additional charge of aggravated white collar crime stems from the 10 counts of grand theft.

"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 Pensacola at 850-595-5188.

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.