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October 17, 2006

Broward Truck Sales Dealer Arrested in $47,000 Tax Theft Case

The owner of a Broward retail truck sales business has been arrested by the Broward County Sheriff’s office on charges that he stole more than $47,000 in sales tax he collected from customers but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Jose Rubio, 42, of Weston, was arrested by on October 8 on felony charges relating to failure to file tax returns and pay tax as required by law. 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. Rubio operated Broward Select Truck Sales, Inc., doing business at 1800 South State Road 7, Miramar, Florida. The business is now closed.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Rubio routinely collected tax from customers at his business. However, during various periods between July 2002 and February 2004, Rubio failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. Investigators found that Rubio had illegally kept $47,065.44 in tax money. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection. Department of Revenue staff repeatedly visited and called Rubio in an attempt to help him come into compliance with state tax law, but he failed to meet his legal obligations.

“To be fair, tax law must apply uniformly to all businesses,” said Jim Zingale, executive director of the Revenue Department. “Individuals that break tax laws steal money that the public pays to support vital public services, such as law enforcement and education. They also steal a competitive advantage over honest businesspeople who pay their taxes. The Department of Revenue, on behalf of all Floridians, will not allow this to occur.”

If you have information about tax theft, please call the Florida Department of Revenue investigations office in Coral Springs at (954)346-2850.