Restaurant Owner Admits to Stealing Over $400,000 in Sales Tax

September 27, 2013 Updated May 24, 2010 at 3:17 PM EDT

By WKBW Internet

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Restaurant Owner Admits to Stealing Over $400,000 in Sales Tax

September 27, 2013 Updated May 24, 2010 at 3:17 PM EDT

MAYVILLE, NY (WKBW/RELEASE) -- An area businessman admitted to keeping more than $400,000 in sales tax collected from patrons of three local restaurants.

The Attorney General's Office reports that Steven L. Carlson, 51, pleaded guilty to stealing almost $430,000 from the state by failing to pay sales tax that he collected at his local restaurants.

Carlson pleaded guilty in Chautauqua County Court to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on September 14. He was released without bail pending sentencing.

According to court documents, Carlson operated three restaurants; the
Village Casino in Bemus Point, the Wing City Grill in Fredonia and an
Arby’s Restaurant in Jamestown. While operating these restaurants,
from March 1, 2005 until August 31, 2008, Carlson collected but failed
to pay to the state approximately $430,000 in sales tax receipts.

In 2008, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s
Criminal Investigations Division began looking into the actions of
Carlson who operated the three restaurants under different corporate
identities. Investigators and auditors obtained business records
showing that Carlson's restaurants collected approximately $654,900 in
sales tax from their customers, but remitted only $224,100 to the State
of New York. Sales tax money collected by businesses from their
customers belongs to the state and corporate officers are responsible
for ensuring that these funds are remitted in a timely fashion.