Head shop owner accused of stealing taxes collected from customers

By WKTV News

(WKTV) - John Tebbetts, the owner and operator of Tebb's Head Shops, was arraigned Monday on three felony charges after he allegedly stole more than $50,000 in taxes he collected from customers, the attorney general's office announced.

Tebbetts, 34, of Rome, is charged with grand larceny in the second degree and two counts of criminal tax fraud in the second degree. If convicted, he faces up to five to 15 years in prison.

According to the attorney general's office, between March 2007 and September 2012, Tebbetts collected taxes on behalf of the State of New York from the sales of items such as herbal incense, pipes, hookahs, body jewelry and dart supplies, all of which are subject to sales tax. During this time, officials say Tebbetts allegedly did not return to the state the full amount of sales tax collected from customers.

He is also charged with failure to report taxable sales from Tebb's Head Shops for the periods of March 2007 through August 2012. Authorities say this resulted in sales tax liability in excess of $500,000, which was allegedly not remitted to the State of New York.

Tebbetts pleaded guilty in December 2012 in U.. District Court to numerous federal criminal charges, including possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He is awaiting sentencing on those charges.

Tebb's Head Shops were located in Onodaga, Oneida, Herkimer, Madison and Jefferson counties. The three-year investigation was conducted by the Attorney General's office and the Department of Taxation and Finance.

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