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Wilmington Businessman Pleads Guilty in State Tax Case

Raleigh, NC

A Wilmington businessman pleaded guilty Tuesday in Wake County Superior Court to felony tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Steven Ronald Gibbs, 44, of 7317 Darden Road, Wilmington, pleaded guilty on October 22, 2019 to four counts of Embezzlement of State Property and four counts of Embezzlement of New Hanover County property.

Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier sentenced Gibbs to a 16-month minimum, 29-month maximum prison term.  The sentence was suspended and Gibbs was placed on supervised probation for 36 months.  As conditions of probation, Gibbs was ordered to be placed under electronic house arrest for a period of 120 days, pay a $5,000 criminal fine and complete 100 hours of community service work.  Gibbs paid $44,059.20 in restitution prior to the plea.

Information presented in court showed that Gibbs, owner and responsible person of Fermental Inc., aided and abetted the business to embezzle, misapply, and convert to its own use $44,059.20 in North Carolina and New Hanover County sales tax during the period September 1, 2014 through August 31, 2017.  During this period of time, Gibbs was the responsible person of the corporation and was under a duty to collect, hold in trust, and remit North Carolina State Taxes to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

The charges against Gibbs resulted from an investigation by special agents with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division in Raleigh, and was prosecuted by the Special Prosecutions attorneys in the office of the Attorney General.