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COCOA BEACH, FL-Ron John Surf Shop, a $30 million business created in 1961 by entrepreneur Ron DiMenna, is pleading guilty to federal charges of lying on corporate income tax forms and customs documents. The global retailer faces $21,000 in fines and probation on an undetermined sentencing date in U.S. District Court in Orlando.

Ron John Surf Shop of Florida Inc. and Ron Jon Surf shop Down Under of Australia Inc. admitted the charges. They stemmed from a January 1998 raid on the company’s 52,000-sf corporate and retail offices in Cocoa Beach, 60 miles south of Downtown Orlando. The 24-hour-a-day oceanfront operation has become a mini tourist attraction, especially for international visitors.

The Florida operation was accused of filing false U.S. Customs Service documents on a $16,977 apparel shipment from Indonesia in 1996. The Australian subsidiary admitted misrepresenting information on its corporate tax documents.

In a separate civil action, the Florida company agreed to pay $225,000 in fines for misrepresenting the value of merchandise received on other non-related shipments.

Ron Jon founder DiMenna was not charged as an individual officer of both corporations. DiMenna started his retail empire of T-shirts, swimsuits, surfboards and related paraphernalia on the New Jersey coast in 1961. He opened his flagship store in Cocoa Beach in 1963. The company also has a store in Fort Lauderdale, FL and California.

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