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April 21, 2009

Security Guard Business Owners Arrested in Nearly $790,000 Tax Theft Scheme

The owners of a Miami-Dade County security guard business have been arrested on charges that they stole nearly $790,000 in sales tax they collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Roger C. Hammer, 46, and Romi N. Hammer, 41, were arrested by members of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and each charged with one count of Aggravated White-Collar Crime and three counts of grand theft. The investigation was conducted by the Department of Revenue and the Hammers will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution. Mr. and Mrs. Hammer face a maximum of 70 years in prison and a fine of $30,000 each. The Hammers operated the National Security and Intelligence Agency, LLC, Miami, Florida.

According to Revenue Department investigators, the Hammers routinely collected tax from customers of their business, however, throughout the period between March 2004 and January 2008, the Hammers failed to send in to the state any of the sales taxes collected. Investigators found that the Hammers illegally kept $789,148.05 in tax money. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.

"Individuals who collect tax but don't send it in are stealing taxpayer dollars and gaining an unfair financial advantage over honest businesses," said Lisa Echeverri, Florida Department of Revenue Executive Director. "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
Miami at 305-513-3290.