Thursday, April 18, 2024

Former FuWangz owner arrested for $80K sales tax embezzlement

FuWangz owner, formerly operating on Carolina Beach Road, has been arrested for sales tax evasion. (Courtesy photo)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A Wilmington restaurateur once known for serving some the area’s most popular wings has been taken in by state authorities.

According to a release from the North Carolina Department of Revenue, 48-year-old Marteke Latwuan Franks was arrested Thursday on felony tax charges filed by the state department. Of Sneads Ferry, Franks was charged with five counts of embezzlement of state property. NCDOR claims he emblezzed or misapplied roughly $80,000 in sales taxes.

FuWangz, once located at 2105 Carolina Beach Road, was best known for its wings served in more than 40 different sauces. It operated from the end of 2015 until May 2023 when it announced its closure on Facebook:

“We just want you to know that this decision wasn’t made lightly,” the post stated. “We’ve got big dreams and other exciting opportunities calling our name.” 

In its stead, a different restaurant, Smokin’ Jimmies Chicken & Seafood, opened almost a month later.

Franks was investigated by special agents with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division. The only member of Fuwangz, LLC, Franks did not report $79,894.22 in sales taxes that NCDOR said belonged to the state and New Hanover County. According to the claims, the investigation took place between May 1, 2016, and September 30, 2020. 

“During this time, Franks was a responsible person of Fuwangz, LLC, and was under a duty to collect, hold in trust, and remit North Carolina and New Hanover County sales tax to the North Carolina Department of Revenue,” a press release noted from NCDOR. 

On Thursday, Franks appeared before a Wake County magistrate and received a $25,000 secured bond. His will appear in Wake County Superior Court in Raleigh on Feb. 16.

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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