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February 25, 2010

Escambia County Automobile Dealer Arrested in Tax Theft Case

The owner of an Escambia County used automobile dealership has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $46,000 in sales tax he collected from customers and failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

William John Hubner, Jr., 52 of Cantonment, surrendered to the deputies of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department on February 25, 2010 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. He owns and operated Quality Wholesale Cars, Inc., 303 S. New Warrington Rd., Pensacola, Florida.

According to Revenue Department investigators, he routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods from February 2005 through May 2006, he failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. Investigators found that he had illegally kept over $46,000 in tax money. 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 Echeverri, 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 Pensacola at 850-595-5188.