Thursday, January 7, 2021
A criminal conviction has led to a complaint filed by the Illinois Administrator
Beginning in 2011 and continuing through at least May 2019, Respondent owned and operated at least five Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Two of the restaurants were located in Sarasota County, and three of the restaurants were located in Pinellas County.
Each restaurant was incorporated as a separate LLC in the State of Florida, with Respondent as managing member and registered agent of each LLC.
As the managing member and registered agent of each restaurant, Respondent was responsible for collecting, reporting, and remitting sales and use tax to the State of Florida, Department of Revenue.
Respondent did not remit sales and use tax payments for any of the five restaurants with the Florida Department of Revenue from June 2017 through October 2017, from December 2017 through January 2018, and in April 2018.
As managing member of the restaurants, Respondent prepared, signed, and filed sales tax returns for the businesses with the State of Florida. During the time periods listed in paragraph 4 above, Respondent filed the sales tax returns, but did not remit any sales tax to the State of Florida. In total, for the five restaurants, Respondent knowingly and unlawfully withheld a total of at least $113,000 (exclusive of late fees, interest, and other penalties) of sales and use tax that should have been remitted to the State of Florida.
In the course of its investigation of Respondent’s conduct, the Florida Department of Revenue determined that during the time periods listed...above, Respondent had sufficient funds to pay the sales and use tax on behalf of his restaurants to the State of Florida and was aware of his obligation to pay those taxes but did not do so.
Over the course of its investigation, representatives of the Florida Department of Revenue sent letters to Respondent identifying the tax liabilities to his restaurants. The Department of Revenue notified Respondent of his tax liability and representatives from the Department spoke with him regarding the possibility of criminal sanctions for failing to comply. After receiving these communications from the Florida Department of Revenue, Respondent continued to be delinquent in filing returns and remitting sales and use tax.
On January 22, 2020, Respondent entered a plea of nolo contendre in case number 2019-CF-006246NC to the above-referenced charges of theft of state sales tax in Sarasota County, Florida. As part of his negotiated plea, Respondent paid $76,563.33 in restitution to the State of Florida, Department of Revenue. On January 22, 2020, Circuit Court Judge Charles E. Roberts sentenced Respondent to a term of twenty-four months of felony probation.