State accuses bookkeeper of Concord car-equipment company of embezzlement

rgallagher@newsobserver.comApril 24, 2014 

— The secretary/treasuer and bookkeeper of Butlerbuilt Motorsports Equipment, a Concord-based vendor of customized seats and other gear for race cars, was arrested Wednesday on charges that the company kept more than $400,000 in state and county sales tax and $261,000 in income tax from employees' paychecks from as far back as December 2003.

Barbara Butler, named in three arrest warrants obtained by the state Department of Revenue, was listed in those as Barbara Beard Butler and on Wake County arrest records as Barbara Jean Butler.

Butler, 61, of 8263 Addison Drive in Harrisburg, was being held in the Wake County Detention Center in lieu of $1 million bail.

She was arrested at her home Wednesday morning, records show.

The warrants charged two counts of embezzlement of state property, citing the income tax and state sales tax, and one count of embezzlement by a public officer or trustee because companies that collect county sales taxes are considered trustees of the counties.

The warrants say the money was converted to the company’s use, not Butler’s personal use.

Butler, the warrants obtained by DOR Investigator Marla J. Bryant said, was the person who should have sent the money to the department.

Butler Specialties does business as Butlerbuilt Motorsports Equipment, Bryant wrote. The company advertizes Butlerbuilt Professional Seat Systems on its website.

The income tax withheld from employees – $261,388.09 – was not turned over to the state between July 4, 2009, and Jan. 1 of this year, one warrant alleged.

The other two charge Butler with not turning over $267,893.09 in state sales tax and $132,965.97 in sales taxes for “numerous counties” between Dec. 1, 2003, and Jan. 20 of this year.

The Secretary of State’s Office shows Butler Specialties was formed Jan. 7, 1987. In 1992, it began regularly filing the annual reports required of corporations and continued to through December 2002. Then they stopped.

The Department of Revenue issued a notice for the Secretary of State to put Butler Specialties on suspension as far as being a corporation in October 2009, the year DOR alleged that Butler began to not send in money withheld from employees.

DOR does not specify when it lists a company for suspension, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office said.

The Secretary of State took separate action, sending the company notices in March 2010 and April 2011 that it needed to get caught up on its reports.

The office dissolved Butler Specialties Inc. as a corporation on July 21, 2011.

Being dissolved does not mean an operation has to cease, but it does take away any legal protection that the owners got by creating a corporation, such as protecting their personal assets from any corporate creditors.

The state records show that the last person listed as the official registered agent of Butler Specialties Inc. was Brian J. Butler, with an address at the company’s business in Concord. He is not mentioned in the arrest warrants.

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