Charlotte Businessman Pleads Guilty To State Tax Charges

Date:  January 7, 2008

RALEIGH – A Charlotte businessman pleaded guilty Monday in Wake County Superior Court to tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

George H. Lainis, 43, of 4036 Cornwallis Camp Drive, Charlotte pleaded guilty on Jan. 7, 2008 to three counts of embezzlement of state property and three counts of embezzlement of county property.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson consolidated the charges and sentenced Lainis to a 13-month minimum, 16-month maximum prison term. The sentence was suspended and Lainis was placed on probation for 24 months. During the first six months, he will be on intensive probation and for the remaining 18 months, he will be on supervised probation. He was also ordered to timely and accurately file and pay all state and federal taxes, perform 100 hours of community service, and pay a $5,000 criminal fine. Before sentencing, Lainis paid $107,000 in restitution to the North Carolina Department of Revenue and was ordered to pay the remaining $580.33 during his probation.

The state’s evidence showed that Lainis, owner of Catch Light Studio, charged and collected $65,821.98 in North Carolina sales tax and $41,758.35 in Mecklenburg County sales tax from May 1, 1998 through Dec. 31, 2006 and failed to remit any of the taxes to the Department of Revenue. Catch Light Studio is a photography company located at 1111 Central Avenue, Suite 300 in Charlotte.

The charges against Lainis resulted from an investigation by the Department of Revenue’s Charlotte Field Examinations Office and a special agent with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division in Raleigh.

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