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April 10, 2002

Chipley Auto-service Operator Arrest on Tax-filing Charges

The owner of a Chipley auto paint and body shop and wrecker service has been arrested on charges that he failed to file sales tax returns and filed false tax returns, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Michael J. Vosika, 35, of Chipley, was arrested Wednesday by the Washington County Sheriff's Department on a felony charge of failure to file tax returns and filing false or fraudulent returns. He was released on his own recognizance. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Vosika operates Michael's Wrecker, Paint & Body at 1146 Jackson Avenue in Chipley.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Vosika's company failed to file sales tax returns as required by law between December 2000 and May 2001. Vosika also filed sales tax returns during various periods in 1999 to 2001 that reported a smaller amount of taxable transactions taking place at his business than actually occurred, a violation known as underreporting.

"To be fair, tax law must apply uniformly to all businesses," said Jim Zingale, executive director of the Revenue Department. "Businesses that fail to comply with tax law are stealing an unearned, undeserved competitive advantage over honest businesspeople. The Department cannot and will not allow this to occur."

If you have information about tax theft, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Tallahassee at 850-922-2666.