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September 16, 2010

Auto Repair Shop Owner Arrested for Theft of State Funds

Julian (Jay) Jimenez, 46, owner of Fine High Line Imports, Inc., has been arrested on charges that he stole sales tax he collected from customers, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Mr. Jimenez, of Spring Hill, was arrested by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Department on September 14 on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to theft of state funds, failing to file six consecutive returns and refusal to file 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. Jimenez owns and operates the business which is located at 15536 Cortez Boulevard in Brooksville.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Jimenez collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods beginning in 2007 and lasting through periods in 2009, he failed to send into the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected, failed to file returns and refused to file returns and pay tax due. 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 Port Richey at 727-841-4272.