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March 10, 2014

Pinellas County Used Car Dealer Arrested

William C. Brunes, the former operator of VIP Auto Showroom, LLC, a used car dealership located in Largo, Florida, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $51,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Mr. Brunes, 48, who also lives in Largo, was arrested by the St. Petersburg Police Department on March 7, 2014 on a felony charge 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 sales tax, along with payment of penalty and investigative costs.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Brunes collected tax from customers at his dealership. However, during various periods beginning in 2012, lasting through periods in 2013, he failed to send to the state all of the sales taxes that were collected.

"It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements," said Marshall Stranburg, Executive Director, Florida Department of Revenue. "For those that don't, it is our job to enforce the law and ensure honest businesses are not placed at a competitive disadvantage by those who ignore the law or intentionally collect and steal taxpayer dollars."

If you have information about tax crimes, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Largo at 727-588-6845.

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.