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September 24, 2012

Auto Repair Shop Owner Arrested In Tax Theft Case

Robert A. Cass, 50, the owner of LMS Auto, doing business as Advantage Plus, located in Holiday, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $20,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Mr. Cass, who lives in Palm Harbor, was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on September 13, 2012, on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to theft of state funds and refusing to file tax returns and pay taxes due. If convicted, Mr. Cass faces up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs. His shop is located at 1137 US Highway 19 in Holiday.

According to Revenue Department investigators, the Mr. Cass collected tax from customers at his shop. However, during various periods beginning in 2010 and lasting through periods in 2011, he failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected or file tax returns as required by law. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.

“It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements,” said Marshall Stranburg, Interim 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 Port Richey at 727-841-4272.

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.