AUGUSTA, Maine — A Gray man convicted of avoiding tax payments while selling vacuum cleaners will spend 18 months in jail, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills announced Tuesday evening.
Nathaniel Dupuis, 41, was sentenced in Kennebec County Superior Court to four years in jail, with all but 18 months suspended, and two years of probation, according to a news release from Mills’ office. Dupuis also was ordered to pay $86,476 in restitution.
Dupuis pleaded guilty in August 2013 to multiple counts of theft by misapplication, intentional sales tax evasion and failure to collect and account for sales tax, Mills’ office said.
The charges trace back to a two-year period from 2006 to 2008, when Dupuis owned and ran two companies that distributed Kirby brand vacuums, both to other sellers and to consumers directly.
“Over the course of almost [two and a half] years, Dupuis sold approximately $1 million of Kirby vacuums which were subject to sales tax,” Mills’ announcement read, in part. “Dupuis collected sales tax on the purchases and kept the sales tax money for himself for personal and business use. Dupuis also collected sales tax selling the Kirby vacuums beyond the statute of limitations, going back to 2004. Dupuis owes in excess of an additional $80,000 in sales tax for these years.”
In addition to the tax evasion charges, state investigators also looked into complaints by several customers who claimed Dupuis did not deliver new vacuums or refunds when requested. Dupuis made refunds to three of the customers in question as a result of the state probe, according to Mills’ office.
“My office will continue to work with other state agencies to pursue those who would cheat the government and those who steal public resources, no matter who or where they are or what they do for work,” Mills said in a statement. “Similarly, my office will continue to be vigilant in pursuing businesses, both large and small, that defraud Maine consumers.”
Aiding in the investigation were the Maine Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Unit and the Portland and Cape Elizabeth police departments. Assistant Attorney General Gregg Bernstein handled the case for the Maine attorney general’s office.