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Restaurateur charged with tax violations

January 11, 2002

Restaurateur charged with tax violations



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


Shepherdstown restaurant operator Aubrey "Gene" Henry was charged Thursday with seven tax violations stemming from allegations he failed to pay $58,985.75 in state taxes, according to court records.

Henry was charged with four counts of failure to pay employee withholding tax, two counts of attempting to evade consumer sales and service tax and one count of failure to pay consumer sales and service tax, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records.

Henry was arraigned on the charges Thursday afternoon in Jefferson County Magistrate Court and released on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond, according to court records.

The charges, filed Thursday in magistrate court, allege that Henry failed to pay $47,508.30 in taxes collected from food and catering sales, according to court records and Fred Vaughan, senior criminal investigator for the state Tax Department.

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Henry also was charged with failing to pay the state $11,477.45 in income taxes collected from employees, according to court records.

Vaughan alleged that Henry's failure to pay the taxes stretched over a period of time at a number of the restaurants he operated.

Henry declined to talk in detail about the charges Thursday night, other than to say that the taxes would be paid.

"I guess there were just some errors in bookkeeping. There was never any intent to defraud the state," Henry said.

Henry, 54, of Route 1, Shepherdstown, has operated a number of restaurants over the years, including a Ponderosa restaurant on U.S. 340 near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., a seafood restaurant and a business in which food was sold from small delivery trucks.

One of the restaurants he operated along W.Va. 480 near Shepherdstown burned about a decade ago.

Henry currently operates Harpoon Henry's in the Somerset Village shopping center along U.S. 340 east of Charles Town, Vaughan said.

Vaughan said he did not expect the charges to affect Harpoon Henry's restaurant.

Henry has a business partner in that eatery, and there is no reason why the restaurant cannot stay open as long as the other partner is able to operate it, Vaughan said.

Henry also has been a developer. He once proposed a 76-unit townhouse development near Morgan Grove Park along W.Va. 480 near Shepherdstown that drew opposition from some county residents.

Conviction on a charge of failure to pay employee withholding tax carries a possible penalty of one to three years in prison and fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, court records said.

Conviction on charges of attempting to evade consumer sales and service tax and of failure to pay consumer sales and service tax each carries a possible penalty of one to three years imprisonment and a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000, according to court records.

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