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September 10, 2013

Former Lee County Used Car Dealer Arrested

Renato L. Caldas, the former owner of Made In Brazil Auto Sales, a used car dealership that had been located in Ft. Myers, Florida, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $21,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Mr. Caldas, 36, who lives in Lehigh Acres, was arrested by the Lee County Sheriff's Office on September 3 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 payment of penalty and investigative costs. Made In Brazil Auto Sales was located at 3711 Palm Beach Boulevard in Ft. Myers.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Caldas collected tax from customers at his dealership. However, during various periods beginning in 2010, lasting through periods in 2011, he failed to send in 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 Fort Myers at 239-338-2437.

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.