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August 4, 2009

Hillsborough County Auto Repair Shop Owner Arrested for Theft of State Funds

A Hillsborough County auto repair shop owner has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $13,000 in sales taxes that he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

John C. Camacho, 43, of Tampa, was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department on August 4, 2009 on felony charges relating to theft of sales tax and failure to file tax returns. 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. Mr. Camacho owns and operates International Auto Air Corp., 2015 West Busch Blvd., Tampa.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Camacho routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods between January 2005 and January 2009, he failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. Investigators found that he had illegally kept $13,000 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 Tampa at 813-744-6506.