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December 12, 2011

Hawthorne Stone and Tile Store Owner Arrested

Brian Warden, 48, former owner of International Stone Source, Inc., in Hawthorne has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $8,000 in sales tax he collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Mr. Warden, who also lives in Hawthorne, was arrested by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department on December 6, 2011 on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to theft of state funds, and refusal to file and pay taxes due. 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.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Warden collected tax from customers at his business that specialized in the supply of stone and tile. However, during various periods beginning in 2009 and lasting through periods in 2010, he failed to send into the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected or file his tax returns as required by law. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection. International Stone Source was located at 7250 South East 246th Terrace in Hawthorne.

"It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements," said Lisa Vickers, 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 worse, intentionally collect and steal taxpayer dollars."

If you have information about tax crimes, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Alachua at 386-418-4444.

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.