Wake County businessman Joseph Patrick O’Keefe, 56, pleaded guilty in Wake County Superior Court yesterday to five counts of Embezzlement of State Property. The felony tax charges were filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
Superior Court Judge Stephan Futrell sentenced O’Keefe, who lives in Wake Forest, to a 16-month minimum, 29-month maximum prison term. The sentence was suspended, and as a condition of probation O’Keefe was ordered to serve seven days in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections. O’Keefe was placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring for 60 days, placed on supervised probation for 36 months, and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. He is also ordered to pay the remaining restitution in the amount of $268,776.14.
Information presented in court showed that O’Keefe, President of Wine & Beer 101, Inc. aided and abetted the business to embezzle, misapply, and convert to its own use approximately $518,776.14 in North Carolina Sales Tax from January 1, 2012 through September 30, 2018. During this period of time, O’Keefe was a responsible person of Wine & Beer 101, Inc., which was under a duty to collect, hold in trust, and remit North Carolina and Wake County Sales Tax to the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
The charges against O’Keefe 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.
The North Carolina Department of Revenue funds public services benefiting the people of North Carolina. We administer the tax laws and collect the taxes due in an impartial, consistent, secure, and efficient manner.