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January 8, 2013

Tampa Used Car Dealer Arrested

Mohamed Gaber Essa, the former owner of Fair Deal Auto Sales of Tampa, Inc., a used car dealership that was located in Tampa, Florida, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $91,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Mr. Essa, 43, who lives in Odessa, was arrested by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on January 7, 2013 on a felony charge relating to theft of state funds. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible payment of penalty and investigative costs. Fair Deal Auto Sales of Tampa, Inc. was located at 11901 N. Nebraska Avenue in Tampa.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Essa collected tax from customers at his dealership. However, during various periods beginning in 2009, lasting through periods in 2010, he failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that were collected or file his 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, 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 Tampa at 813-744-6506.

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.