High Point businessman arrested on felony tax charges

Paul Robert Riggan

HIGH POINT, N.C. – A High Point businessman was arrested Thursday on felony tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Paul Robert Riggan, 48, of High Point, was charged Thursday with one count each of embezzlement of state property and embezzlement of Guilford County property, according to a press release from the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Riggan owns Gate City Catering, LLC, which operated Blue Water Grille and Blue Bourbon Jacks, and Soho Food Group, LLC, which operated Lulu and Blu and Blue Rock Pizza and Tap.

The suspect is accused of aiding and abetting the business entities to embezzle, misapply and convert to their own use $194,239.84 in North Carolina and Guilford County sales tax during the period of Aug. 1, 2012 through Jan. 20, 2016.

During that time period, Riggan was the responsible person of the businesses, which were under a duty to collect, hold in trust and remit North Carolina state taxes to the Department of Revenue.

Riggan appeared before a Wake County magistrate and was placed under a $65,000 secured bond. He has court scheduled for Friday.

Riggan was charged after an investigation by special agents with the Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigations Section in Raleigh.

Douglas E. Kingsbery, the attorney representing Riggan, released this statement:

“Paul Riggan has cooperated thoroughly with the Department of Revenue’s investigation of this matter. In June 2016, upon learning of the underreporting of Sales Taxes for the period under investigation, Mr. Riggan had each of the restaurants file amended Sales Tax returns and remit all additional taxes due. Since that time, the restaurants have all operated in full compliance with all regulatory and tax requirements.”