By Kevin Deutsch
A former Coral Springs restaurant owner who allegedly failed to pay nearly $50,000 in sales taxes collected at his Coral Square Mall restaurant and pleaded not guilty to the crime is expected to change his plea later this month, records show. judicial.
Gaston Garcia, 43, of Davie, is accused of pocketing $49,843.64 in taxes he charged customers at the now closed ROC Resto-Lounge and Fashion property between December 2014 and June 2015, according to court documents filed by Florida Department of Revenue investigators.
Garcia is charged with theft of public funds, a felony, according to records.
Garcia’s business, advertised as a multi-faceted entertainment complex when it opened in 2014, included a full-service restaurant, fashion boutique, bar, outdoor lounge, nightclub and cafe.
“My goal is for everyone to feel like a VIP without a VIP price tag,” Garcia said of his Coral Square Mall property shortly after it opened. “Everyone is a VIP here.”
He pleaded not guilty after his arrest in October 2020 and is expected to amend his plea at the Central Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on April 28.
Court documents do not indicate whether Garcia plans to plead not guilty, no contest or make a different request in court.
Garcia is currently free on $3,500 bond.
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Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime reporter and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on the staff of the Miami Herald, New York Daily News and Palm Beach Post.