October 14, 2008
The owners of a Santa Rosa County restaurant have been arrested on charges that they stole more than $32,000 in sales tax they collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.
Cherrie Michelle Binder, 37, and Timothy Allen Binder, 48, of Milton, surrendered to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Department on October 14, 2008 on felony charges relating to failure to file tax returns and pay the tax due. If convicted, they face 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. The Binders also face charges related to failure to file tax returns as required by law. The Binders operated Tim & Shell’s Kountry Kitchen, 5037 Highway 90, Pace, Florida.
According to Revenue Department investigators, the Binders routinely collected tax from customers at their business. However, during various periods between November 2004 and October 2005, the Binders failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that they had collected. Investigators found that the Binders had illegally kept $32,802.51 in tax 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 Pensacola at 850-595-5188.