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Lake View restaurant owner admits stealing sales tax

The owner of the Wanakah Grill in Lake View has pleaded guilty to pocketing more than $40,000 in sales taxes collected from his customers.

James Rath, 60, of Lake View, pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny, a misdemeanor, and will pay more than $40,000 in restitution, according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance. He is due back in State Supreme Court in Erie County on Dec. 17 for sentencing.

“Those who disregard their obligation to remit the sales tax they collect violate the trust of their customers, deprive the communities where they operate of revenue needed for vital services and put similar businesses at a competitive disadvantage,” said Michael Schmidt, the state tax commissioner.

The sales tax was collected at Wanakah Grill, 2293 Pleasant Ave., between March 1, 2014 and Feb. 28, 2018, according to the Department of Taxation and Finance.

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