Attorney General Josh Shapiro Friday said two central Pennsylvania business proprietors are facing criminal charges for failing to pay more than $214,000 in state sales and income taxes over the last three years.
The actions follow the end of the Tax Amnesty Program on June 19 which collected $126.7 million (after costs) of the $3.47 billion businesses and individuals owe the Commonwealth.
Budget negotiators in the Senate included another round of Tax Amnesty in their proposal for the current fiscal year.
The charges against Lorraine Fritz, of Reel Time Automotive in Berks County, and Andrew Horton, of Parma Pizza & Grill in York County, include felony theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, as well as the willful failure to pay sales tax and submit sales tax returns as required by law.
“When business owners don’t pay the taxes they owe to the Commonwealth, those are tax dollars that can never be used to provide essential services to our citizens,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “These defendants were stealing from Pennsylvanians. Every business owner and citizen has to pay their taxes, and we’re working to ensure those who don’t pay are held responsible.”
Ms. Fritz, 53, of Berne Road, Hamburg, served as primary bookkeeper for Reel Time Auto, which operates as Meineke Car Care Center, and was responsible for preparing, filing and paying sales taxes for the business, owned by her husband, Dale Fritz. The business is on Penn Avenue in Sinking Spring, with a second location on MacArthur Road in Whitehall.
Fritz is charged with failing to pay $119,779 in sales tax between August 2015 and May 2017. She is also charged with failing to pay $11,896 in employer withholding taxes, for a total unpaid tax liability of $131,675.
Fritz has been arraigned on the charges pending a preliminary hearing on September 5. Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Forray will prosecute the case.
In the second case, Andrew Horton, 42, of S. 2nd Street, Wormleysburg, is the owner of Parma Pizza & Grill, a restaurant and pizza shop on Haines Road in York. Although Horton was the person responsible for filing and paying sales tax for the business, he instead used those funds to cover operating costs for his pizza business.
Horton is accused of failing to pay a total of $83,200 in sales tax between October 2014 and July 2017.
Horton has been arraigned on the charges, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 31. Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Franz will prosecute the case.
The Office of Attorney General’s Criminal Division worked closely with the Pennsylvania Revenue Department’s Bureau of Criminal Tax Investigations on both cases, and Attorney General Shapiro praised the Revenue Department’s collaboration with his office.
“Our agents work closely with investigators from the Revenue Department on these tax cases, and their collaboration is ongoing and essential,” Attorney General Shapiro said.
“The vast majority of Pennsylvania businesses comply with state tax requirements. For those that don't, we have to enforce the law and ensure honest businesses are not placed at a competitive disadvantage by those who steal taxpayer dollars,” said Secretary of Revenue Daniel Hassell. “I commend the agents in our Revenue Department and the Office of Attorney General for their collaboration and handling of these cases.”