Buncombe County Businessman Pleads Guilty in State Tax Case


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

Anthony J. Franco, 57, of 2202 Barkwood Lane, Arden pleaded guilty on September 22, 2014 to six counts of Embezzlement of State Property.

Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood sentenced Franco to a 16-month minimum, 29-month maximum prison term. The sentence was suspended and Franco was placed on supervised probation for 60 months. He was ordered to pay $50,500 toward restitution at the time of plea and to pay the remaining restitution of $27,952.49 over the period of probation. He was also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $3,000 fine.

Information presented in court showed Franco, a corporate officer of Food Experience, Inc., aided and abetted the corporation to embezzle, misapply and convert to its own use $50,346.65 in state and county sales tax, during the period January 1, 2008 through April 22, 2013. During this period of time, Franco held the position of President and was the responsible officer of Food Experience, Inc., which was under a duty to collect, hold in trust, and remit sales tax to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

The charges against Franco resulted from an investigation by a special agent with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Section in Raleigh.


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