Local business owner receives conditional discharge after guilty tax fraud plea

HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – The owner of a local business in Chemung County who pled guilty tax fraud for pocketing customers’ sales tax has been sentenced to a conditional discharge after paying restitution, according to the County Court.

Sheryl Spotts, owner of Spotts Innovations, Inc., an awning and window business in Horseheads, pled guilty last month to stealing $125,735 in sales tax money from customers for five years. The Chemung County Court told 18 News on April 25 that Spotts has since paid full restitution to New York State. She also received a three-year conditional discharge, according to the court.

The NY Department of Taxation and Finance said that Spotts took in $125,735.28 in sales taxes from customers between 2011 and 2016, but didn’t file the necessary sales tax returns and failed to send that money to the Tax Department, a process required by NYS law.

Spotts and her husband William Spotts also paid $111,284.43 in interest on top of the full amount of taxes collected at the business.

“Theft of sales tax is a crime that does not immediately impact a community,” Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore said at the time of Spotts’ plea, “but instead has an insidious effect as it steals monies over time belonging to the state and local municipalities.”

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