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June 23, 2014

Sanford Used Car Dealer Arrested

Ernesto Romero, 39, president of Romero and Sons Auto Sales, Inc., has been arrested on charges that he stole more than $65,000 in sales tax he collected from customers, but failed to send to the state, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.

Mr. Romero, who lives in Deltona, was arrested by the Seminole County Sheriff's Department on June 19, 2014 on a felony charge relating to theft of state funds. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, as well as possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalty and investigative costs.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Mr. Romero collected sales tax from customers at his car lot. However, during various periods from February 2011 through November 2013, he failed to send to the state all of the sales taxes that he had collected from his customers. Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection. Romero and Sons Auto Sales is located at 2501 South Sanford Avenue in Sanford.

"It is an honor to serve the vast majority of Florida businesses who comply with State tax requirements," said Marshall Stranburg, 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 Maitland at 407-475-1250.

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.