Business owner sentenced for pocketing city sales taxes

A downtown business owner, who admitted to not handing over CBJ sales taxes that he collected, has promised to start paying it back.

Larry Lee Lynd, operator of Wooly Mammoth Gifts and Sourdough Larry’s, pled guilty to five misdemeanors in Juneau District Court on Friday. Charges included failure to file or remit city sales taxes.

Lynd was initially charged with 33 misdemeanors last September. But his attorney worked out a deal with prosecutors to make sure that Lynd stays out of jail and resumes paying taxes.

Prosecutors originally sought restitution of nearly $222,912.23 of estimated unpaid sales taxes dating back to at least the middle of 2006. They filed charges against him after a city employee did a controlled buy of merchandise at Sourdough Larry’s and no sales tax was identified on the receipt.

City attorney August Petropolis said “it is not called theft, but it essentially is.”

Defense attorney David Mallet said it was a very intricately created plea agreement that includes no jail time. He admitted that the figure would seem rather shocking. He suggested that it would be fraction of what is owed. This plea and sentence agreement, said Mallet, includes “a very large carrot and very large stick.”

Juneau District Court Judge Keith Levy told Lynd he took money that wasn’t his. Levy accepted a plea and sentence agreement that includes suspended jail time of 180-days and a suspended fine of $1,000 for each of the remaining five charges.

Lynd appeared in court, but he said nothing aside from answering routine yes-or-no questions from the judge and pleading ‘guilty’ to the charges. He provided an Anchorage post office box number as his mailing address.

Lynd must pay back $191,799.17 in restitution while he’s on probation for the next ten years. That number is based on a formula estimate of taxes and does not include the 3.75 percent additional interest that he must also pay.

He can get off probation if he manages to pay back the entire sum early.

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