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April 14, 2011

Restaurant Owner Arrested

The owner of a Hillsborough County restaurant has been arrested on charges that he violated his probation in regards to a plea he entered in 2010 for failure to file six consecutive returns and refusing to pay taxes due, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Rodney R. Lopez, 46, of Tampa, was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department on April 12, 2011 on violation of probation charges. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Mr. Lopez owns Lopez Enterprises of Tampa that does business as Uncle Rodney's Rib House, 5712 South MacDill Ave, Tampa. He is currently being held in the Hillsborough County Jail without bond.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Lopez collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in 2006 through periods in 2009, he failed file his tax returns as required by law. He entered guilty a plea in March 2010 and was placed on probation, but failed to meet those terms.

"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 Vickers, Executive Director, Florida Department of Revenue. "Individuals who consistently fail to submit tax returns gain an unfair financial advantage over honest businesses that follow the law. 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 Tampa at 813-744-6506.

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.