April 27, 2011
Melinda L. Jackson, owner of The Cat's Meow Gifts & Home Accents, Inc., has been arrested on charges that she stole more than $27,000 in sales tax she collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.
Ms. Jackson, 45, also of Spring Hill, turned herself in to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department on April 26, 2011 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 repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs.
According to Revenue Department investigators, Ms. Jackson collected tax from customers at her business. However, during various periods beginning in 2007 and lasting through periods in 2010, she failed to send into the state all of the sales taxes that she had collected. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection. The business is located at 14824 County Line Road in Spring Hill.
"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 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 New Port Richey at 727-841-4272.
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.