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September 29, 2010

Arcadia Restaurant Owner Arrested

The owner of an Arcadia restaurant has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $79,000 in sales tax he collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Carl C. Wiley, 38, of Arcadia, turned himself in to the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department on September 28, 2010 on felony and misdemeanor charges that included: theft of state funds, tax evasion, failure to file returns. If convicted, he 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. Mr. Wiley owned and operated Carl C. Wiley, LLC, doing business as, Wheelers Café and Backwoods Café on Monroe Avenue in Arcadia.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Wiley collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in 2007 and lasting through periods in 2010, he failed to send into the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected and he also failed to file the required tax returns. Investigators found that he had illegally kept taxpayers money. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.

"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 Echeverri, 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 Tampa at 813-744-6506.