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Liverpool florist faces up to 15 years in prison

Christine Wojtalewski, owner and operator of Chris' Flowers Etc., located at 141 First Street, Liverpool, has pleaded guilty to a felony larceny charge in connection with the theft of more than $110,000 in sales tax collected from her customers for a period of seven years.

The plea was announced April 8 by New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Acting Commissioner Jamie Woodward.

Wojtalewski, 45, of 5014 Homeview Dr., Liverpool, appeared in Onondaga County Court before the Honorable Anthony F. Aloi and pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny in the second degree in satisfaction of a multiple count indictment. Wojtalewski's sentencing is scheduled for May 15, during which time she faces up to 15 years in state prison.

Chris' Flowers Etc., a florist shop, came to the attention of the State Tax Department when state tax investigators found that the shop had been collecting sales tax for many years but had never registered to collect the tax, filed a sales tax return, or remitted any of the tax collected to the State. The Department determined that Wojtalewski had collected $114,353 in sales tax between June 1, 2001 and Aug. 31, 2008, that she failed to report or pay to the state.

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