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May 22, 2014

Miami Restaurant Owner Arrested

Guillermo Diaz, 59, owner of Villa Habana Food Service Corp., doing business as Villa Habana Restaurant, has been arrested on charges that he failed to file six consecutive tax returns, thereby failing to account for and remit the sales tax he collected from customers, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Mr. Diaz, who lives in Miami, surrendered to authorities on May 22, 2014 on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to his failure to file sales and use tax returns. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Villa Habana Restaurant is located at 3398 Coral Way in Miami.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Diaz collected sales tax from customers of his restaurant. However, during the period beginning in October of 2011 through November of 2013, he failed to send to the state sales tax returns and sales taxes that he had collected from his customers. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.

"It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements," said Marshall Stranburg, 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 Miami at 305-513-3290.

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.