J’s Oyster Owner Sentenced to Jail for Theft of Sales Tax


AG Janet Mills in Portland Last Year Following a Speaking Engagement at USM.

Cynthia Brown, 58, has been sentenced to four months in jail for pocketing sales tax paid by customers at J’s Oyster, a restaurant on Commercial Street in Portland.  She also failed to pay her personal and corporate income taxes according to a a press release issued by Attorney General Janet Mills today.

From March 2008 through March 2015, Brown collected sales taxes from restaurant patrons, but failed to turn over to Maine Revenue Services most of the sales tax she collected.  Brown illegally kept the remaining funds for her own personal and business use.  She then underreported the restaurant’s taxable sales and sales taxes collected, which enabled Brown to steal over $800,000 in sales tax.  She also failed to pay personal and corporate income tax during this time period according to the press release.

Justice Lance Walker sentenced Brown on March 19, 2018 to four years in prison, with all by four months suspended and three years of probation.  Total restitution in the case was $1,302,681.  After pleading guilty in January 2017, Brown paid over $829,000. towards her restitution obligation.  Brown is required to pay the $473,315 in restitution as a condition of her probation.

“Maine citizens trust business owners to pay over the sales taxes charged to their customers to Maine Revenue Services and to pay personal and corporate taxes on the income that they earn.  My office will pursue individuals who abuse the trust placed in them to collect sales taxes for the benefit of the State of Maine.  We will also strive to recover as much restitution as possible in order to make Maine taxpayers whole,” wrote AG Janet Mills in the press release.