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January 25, 2011

Former Vehicle Repair Shop Owner Arrested

Fred W. Whitehead, 41, former owner of Whitehead’s Automotive located in Panama City, was arrested, the Florida Department of Revenue announced today.

Mr. Whitehead, who lives in Youngstown, was arrested by the Bay County Sheriff's Department on January 24, 2011 on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to failing to file six consecutive sales tax returns, and refusing to file returns and pay tax. If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, as well as investigative costs. The shop was located at 2624 Transmitter Road in Panama City. According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Whitehead, during various periods beginning in 2009 and lasting through periods in 2010, failed to file taxes according to Florida law.

"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 Vickers, Executive Director, Florida Department of Revenue. "Individuals who consistently fail to submit tax returns gain an unfair financial advantage over honest businesses that follow the law. 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 Panama City at (850) 747-5614.

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.