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February 7, 2012

Truck Repair Shop Owner Arrested in Theft Case

Ernest H. Johnson, the owner of On-Site Truck Repairs, located in Bradenton, has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $15,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send in to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Mr. Johnson, 51, who also lives in Bradenton, was arrested by the Manatee County Sheriff's Department on February 5, 2012 on felony charges relating to theft of state funds. 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. Mr. Johnson's business is located at 1424 26th Avenue East in Bradenton.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Johnson collected tax from customers at his repair shop. However, during various periods beginning in 2009 and lasting through periods in 2011, he failed to send in to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection.

"It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements," said Lisa Vickers, 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 worse—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.