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March 27, 2013

Former Alachua County Restaurant Owner Arrested

Maria P. Romero, the former owner of Calico Jack's, a restaurant located in Gainesville, Florida, has been arrested on charges that she stole more than $58,000 in sales tax she collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Ms. Romero, 41, who lives in Newberry, was arrested by the Alachua County Sheriff's Department on March 18, 2013 on a felony charge relating to theft of state funds. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible payment of penalty and investigative costs. Calico Jack's was located at 3501 South West 2nd Avenue in Gainesville.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Ms. Romero collected tax from customers at her restaurant. However, during various periods beginning in 2009 and lasting through periods in 2012, she failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that were collected.

“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.