Tamara Gonzalez Wintzell, 57, was arrested by the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Thursday on charges of sales tax evasion. Wintzell was indicted by a Baldwin County Grand Jury on 60 counts of evading payment of sales tax to the State of Alabama and the City of Fairhope. The State of Alabama administers sales tax for the City of Fairhope.
“Whether it’s tax evasion, ID theft refund fraud, or any other tax-related criminal activity, the Alabama Department of Revenue is always working hard to ensure that our citizens’ hard-earned money goes to the state services it is intended for, rather than ending up in the hands of criminals” said Revenue Commissioner Julie P. Magee. “I commend our Investigations Division and Baldwin County law enforcement officials and citizens for their vigilance in this case.”
Sales tax evasion is a felony and carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $100,000 fine per count. All state sales tax revenue funds the school systems of Alabama. Sales tax paid to the City of Fairhope supports its General Fund for city operations.
Wintzell owns and operates Tamara’s Downtown and Old Bay Steamer, formally The Pelican Patio. Both of these restaurants are located in downtown Fairhope. Wintzell also owns and operates The Venue and Tamara’s Catering in downtown Fairhope, an event business hosting wedding receptions and other group social gatherings. She owned and operated Tamara’s Bar and Grill in Fairhope until 2014.
Wintzell was released Thursday afternoon from the Baldwin County jail on a $60,000 bond. A date for her arraignment has not been set.