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September 24, 2013

Former Pasco County Auto Repair Shop Owners Arrested

Kelley L. Lauer, 34, and Shawn M. Lauer, 35, the former owners of Haller's Automotive, LLC, an auto repair shop located in New Port Richey, Florida, have been arrested on charges that they stole more than $18,000 in sales tax they collected from their customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

The couple, who also live in New Port Richey, were arrested by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Kelley Lauer was arrested on August 31, 2013 and Shawn Lauer was arrested on September 14, 2013, on felony charges relating to theft of state funds and misdemeanor charges relating to refusal to file tax returns and pay taxes due. If convicted, they each face up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen taxes, penalties and investigative costs. Haller's Automotive was located at 4542 West Trouble Creek Road in New Port Richey.

According to Revenue Department investigators, the couple collected tax from customers at their repair shop. However, during various periods beginning in 2011, lasting through periods in 2012, they failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that were collected or file tax returns as required by law.

“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 New 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.