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January 7, 2011

Lee County Used Car Dealer Arrested for Theft of State Funds

Jorge L. Nunez, 47, owner of Palm Beach Used Cars, Inc., located in Ft. Myers, was arrested on charges that he stole more than $39,000 in state funds he collected in sales tax from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Mr. Nunez, who lives in Cape Coral, was arrested by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department on January 6, 2011 on felony charges relating to theft of state funds. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, and investigative costs. The dealership is located at 3332 Palm Beach Blvd, Ft. Myers.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Nunez collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in 2008 and lasting through periods in 2010, he failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.

"Most Florida businesses do an excellent job of meeting the state's requirements for collecting and submitting sales tax, which pays for services Floridians need," said Lisa Vickers, Executive Director, Florida Department of Revenue. "Individuals who collect tax but don't send it in are stealing taxpayer dollars and gaining an unfair financial advantage over honest businesses. It's our job to ensure that Florida's tax laws are administered fairly."

If you have information about tax crimes, please call the Florida Department of Revenue Investigations office in Ft. Myers at 239-338-2426.

Note: Due to the confidential nature of taxpayer records, generally the information found in this release is the only information available from the Department of Revenue concerning this matter. Other information may be available through the arresting agency and the local Clerk of Court.