Total amount withheld from the state reportedly over $10k

Northport man indicted for theft by misapplication of, failure to pay sales tax

Posted:  Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 5:15pm

BELFAST — A Northport man was indicted by a Waldo County Grand Jury May 16 on six charges relating to misapplied sales tax that was never turned over to the state.

James Toennis, 61, is charged with theft by misapplication of sales tax, four counts of failing to truthfully collect, account, or pay over sales tax and failing to register as a retailer.

Toennis is accused of collecting sales tax and property from customers of his catering company, totaling more than $10,000. The company, Coastal Maine Critters Clambakes, received the funds from May 1, 2007 – Oct. 31, 2015, which he allegedly failed to turn over to the state, according to court documents.

He also failed to register as a retailer during the same time period, according to court documents.

The business, which describes itself as a ‘favorite Maine Tradition,’ since 1978 on its website, Coastal Critters Clambakes is a caterer serving lobster bakes and grilled barbeque dishes, according to the website. They are capable of serving events ranging in size from 25 to “1,500 people or more.”

According to court documents, it is a legal responsibility for business owners/retailers to hold the sales tax they receive in trust for payment to the Maine State Tax Assessor, something Toennis “intentionally or recklessly failed to pay,” according to court documents. Instead, Toennis treated the funds earned from sales tax as his own.

Each of the four counts of failure to collect, account for or pay over sales tax reflects a year that Toennis failed to turn over sales tax for his business, with dates including Oct. 16, 2012, Aug. 16, 2013, Sept. 16, 2014, and Sept. 16, 2015.

It is unclear when Toennis will next appear in court.

Erica Thoms can be reached at