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September 6, 2012

Former Clearwater Restaurant Owner Arrested

Carmine J. Chioccariello, the former owner of The Venue Restaurant, located in Clearwater, Florida, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $126,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Mr. Chioccariello, 39, who lives in St. Petersburg, was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Department on September 5, 2012 on a felony charge relating to theft of state funds. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible payment of penalty and investigative costs. Mr. Chioccariello's restaurant was located at 2675 Ulmerton Road in Clearwater.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Chioccariello collected tax from customers at his restaurant. However, during various periods beginning in 2011 and lasting through periods in 2012, he failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected.

“It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements,” said Marshall Stranburg, Interim 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 in Clearwater at 727-507-6305.

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.