Published: Jun 12, 2013 1:15 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 12, 2013 2:52 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Two Lee County business owners are accused of collecting sales tax from customers, but failing to send the money to the Florida Department of Revenue.

Sharon A. Wise, 47, a former co-owner of Ellington’s Jazz Club & Restaurant, LLC, located in Sanibel; and Walter E. Slodyczka, 61, the former owner of Bayshore Florist, that had been located in Fort Myers, now face prison time and fines.

Wise is accused of stealing more than $67,000 in sales tax she collected from customers, and failing to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue. The club was located at 1244 Periwinkle Way in Sanibel.

She was arrested by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department on Monday on a felony charge relating to theft of sales tax. If convicted, she 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.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Wise collected tax from customers at her club. However, during various periods beginning in 2009 and lasting through periods in 2011, she failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that she had collected. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection. 

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Slodyczka is accused of stealing more than $7,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, and failing to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue. Bayshore Florist was located at 5470 Bayshore Road in North Fort Myers.

Slodyczka, who also lives in Fort Myers, was arrested by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on Monday on a felony charge relating to theft of state funds. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible payment of tax, penalty, interest and investigative costs.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Slodyczkacollected tax from customers at his florist shop. However, during various periods beginning in 2010, lasting through periods in 2011, he failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that were collected.