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October 1, 2012

Indian River County Auto Repair Shop Arrested

Nicholas B. Hearndon, the owner of Nick's Automotive, an auto repair shop located in Vero Beach, Florida, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $57,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Mr. Hearndon, 34, who also lives in Vero Beach, was arrested by the Indian River County Sheriff's Department on September 30, 2012 on felony charges 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. Nick's Automotive is located at 840 33rd Court South West in Vero Beach.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Hearndon collected tax from customers at his dealership. However, during various periods beginning in 2008, lasting through periods in 2010, investigators found that 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, 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 Fort Pierce at 772-429-2196.

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.