by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:ROSWELL, Ga. —
Investigators with the Department of Revenue worked to arrest a tax professional accused of stealing more than $20,000 from client sales tax payments.
Abby Clark owns the restaurant Nine Street Kitchen in Roswell and told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri she trusted Todd Kelly of Tax Traxx LLC to file her monthly sales tax returns for over a year.
"It's money we've already paid and having to pay again, and I don't expect to get that back," Clark said.
She was shocked when she got a call from the Department of Revenue a few months ago letting her know how much she owed in back taxes.
"He should have turned that money over to the state to pay their sales tax bill and instead he kept it for himself," said Chief Josh Waites of the Department of Revenue's Special Investigations Division.
Investigators took out a warrant for Kelly's arrest on theft by conversion charges.
In the meantime, Clark's business is out all the money she paid to Kelly, and still owes to the state.
"It was a huge hit, and we're still in the process of trying to recover," Clark said.
Clark said she hired Kelly while trying to secure a liquor license for her restaurant. Kelly's website listed him as a former executive with Boy Scouts of America. His bio states he's an expert in business licensing and sales tax policy and a former Department of Revenue employee.
"He knew the ins and outs of how everything worked," said Clark. "So we thought, ‘That's fantastic.’"
Kelly told Viteri by phone he met with Department of Revenue investigators in December and told them if there was a discrepancy in the account he would be happy to make sure it got paid. He also said he was not familiar with the charges against him until notified on Monday.
State officials said business owners can check their accounts online or call the Regional Office to make sure their payments are reflected.
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