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March 24, 2008

Motorcycle Repair Shop Owner Arrested for Failure to File Taxes

The owner of a Marion County motorcycle repair business has been arrested on charges that he failed to file sales tax returns for tax he collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

George Altman, 43, of Ocala, was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on March 19, 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 for each of two counts. Each successive six months of failing to file sales tax returns is a third degree felony. Altman also faces charges related to failure to file tax returns as required by law. Altman operated Jugs and Strokers, 12170 SE US Highway 441, Belleview, Florida.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Altman routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods between November 2006 and October 2007, Altman failed to file returns and 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 crimes, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Alachua at 386-418-4415.