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July 26, 2006

Electric Supply Company Owner Arrested in $387,569 Tax Theft Case

The owner of a Marion County electric supply business has been arrested on charges that he failed to file tax returns and pay taxes due in the amount of $387,000 that he collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Gary Lee Jarrell, 46, of Ocala, turned himself in to the Marion County Sheriff’s Department on July 24 on felony charges relating to failure to file tax returns and pay tax as required by law. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Jarrell operated Ampco Electric Supply, Inc., doing business as same at 665 SW 15th Street, Ocala. The business is now closed.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Jarrell routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods between April 2001 and January 2005, Jarrell failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. Investigators found that Jarrell had illegally kept $387,569.63 in tax money. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection. Department of Revenue staff repeatedly visited and called Jarrell in an attempt to help him come into compliance with state tax law, but he failed to meet his legal obligations.

“To be fair, tax law must apply uniformly to all businesses,” said Jim Zingale, executive director of the Revenue Department. “Tax cheats steal money that the public pays to support vital public services, such as law enforcement and education. They also steal a competitive advantage over honest business people who pay their taxes. The Department of Revenue cannot and will not allow this to occur.”

If you have information about tax theft, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Ocala at 386-418-4415.