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December 13, 2010

Owners of Used Car Dealership Arrested

James J. Raimer, 49, and his wife, Joan E. Raimer, 43, owners of a Port Charlotte used car dealership, have been arrested on charges that they stole sales tax that they collected from customers, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

The couple was arrested by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department on December 7, 2010 on felony charges relating to theft of state funds. If convicted, each 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. The couple owns and operates Raimer’s Motors, Inc., 647 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte.

According to Revenue Department investigators, the two collected tax from customers, however, during various periods in 2009 and 2010, they failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that they had collected. Investigators found that they had illegally kept over $14,000 in taxpayer money. 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 Ft. Myers at 239-338-2425.

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.