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March 19, 2014

Winter Springs Used Car Dealer Arrested

Tania Rodriguez, 43, an owner of Ray's Automotive Sales and Repair, Inc., has been arrested on charges that she stole more than $24,000 in sales tax she collected from customers, but failed to send to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Ms. Rodriguez, who lives in Longwood, was arrested by the Seminole County Sheriff's Department on March 18, 2014 on a felony charge relating to theft of state funds. If convicted she faces up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Ms. Rodriguez collected sales tax from customers at her car lot. However, during various periods from April 2010 through November 2013, she failed to send to the state all of the sales taxes she had collected from her customers. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection. Ray's Automotive Sales and Repair is located at 1054 Highway 17-92 in Winter Springs.

"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 Maitland at 407-475-1255.

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.