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July 28, 2006

Tax Preparer Arrested in $36,000 Tax Theft/Fraud Case

A Miami tax preparer has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $36,000 in sales tax that his clients entrusted to him but he failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Alex Alvarez, 30, of Miami, was arrested by investigators of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office today on felony charges relating to failure to pay taxes he received while acting as an agent of other taxpayers, and of creating an organized scheme to defraud clients and the state of taxes due. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. Alvarez operated Epic Holdings of America, Inc., doing business as a tax preparer under the name of FLADOR (not the State Department of Revenue) at 5727 NW 7th Street, #304, Miami, Florida.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Alvarez routinely collected tax from clients of his business with the understanding that he would be sending the funds directly to the Department of Revenue on their behalf. However, during various periods between January 2005 and March 2006, Alvarez failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that had been entrusted to him by his clients.

The investigation determined that Alvarez was substituting documents which fraudulently claimed that his clients had conducted less business and collected less tax than they had reported, diverting the difference in tax dollars for his personal use. Investigators found that Alvarez had illegally kept $36,330.78 in tax money. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection and Alvarez is being charged with depriving the State of the tax revenues his clients had collected on behalf of the Department.

The joint investigation into this matter by the State Attorney’s Office and Department of Revenue is continuing and any taxpayers who were dealing with Alvarez should contact the Department of Revenue investigations office in Miami at 305-513-3290.