Former owner of Latitude 360 sentenced to 30 months in prison for failing to pay over payroll taxes to the IRS


Date: April 10, 2024


Jacksonville, FL — U.S. District Judge Wendy Berger has sentenced Brent Brown to 30 months in federal prison for willfully failing to pay over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employment taxes that were withheld from employees’ paychecks. Brown was further ordered to pay more than $3.8 million in restitution to the IRS. Brown entered a guilty plea on January 11, 2024.

According to court documents, Brown established the initial version of the Latitude entities in June 2010 with a location in Jacksonville, doing business under the name Latitude 360. The Latitude entities operated restaurant and entertainment complexes and expanded to include locations in Indianapolis, Indiana; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Albany, New York – although this location never opened to the public. As part of its business operations, the Latitude entities withheld payroll taxes from employees in trust, which taxes were legally required to be paid over to the IRS. Instead of paying these amounts over to the IRS, for multiple years Brown instead directed the monies be paid elsewhere. Additionally, the Latitude entities – at Brown’s direction – failed to pay over to the IRS the employer’s portion of the payroll taxes. Between tax years 2013 and 2016, Brown willfully failed to pay over to the IRS more than $5.3 million in payroll taxes. During the same time period, Brown diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Latitude entities to pay personal expenses – including rent on a luxury Manhattan apartment and tuition at a Manhattan preparatory school.

“With this sentencing, Brent Brown was reminded that the responsibility to pay federal taxes is a legal obligation and not a game,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Lani I. Rosado-Espinal. “We will continue to investigate payroll tax fraud to ensure cheats are not rewarded for their actions and other law-abiding employers are not placed at a competitive disadvantage.”

This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (CI). It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Laura Cofer Taylor and Arnold B. Corsmeier.

CI is the criminal investigative arm of the IRS, responsible for conducting financial crime investigations, including tax fraud, narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, public corruption, healthcare fraud, identity theft and more. CI special agents are the only federal law enforcement agents with investigative jurisdiction over violations of the Internal Revenue Code, obtaining a more than a 90 percent federal conviction rate. The agency has 20 field offices located across the U.S. and 12 attaché posts abroad.