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September 23, 2003

Broward Car Dealer Arrested in $88,000 Sales Tax Theft Case

TALLAHASSEE - The owner of a Pompano Beach sports-car sales business has been arrested on charges of stealing more than $88,000 in sales taxes that he collected from customers but never sent to the state, the Florida Department of Revenue announced.

Paul Alexander, 56, of Coral Springs, turned himself in to the Broward County Sheriff's Department Monday. He faces felony charges relating to sales tax theft and tax fraud. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, plus repayment of stolen tax, penalty, and interest. Alexander operated Corvette Collection of Boston, Inc., at 880 SW 10th Ave. in Pompano Beach. The business is no longer in operation.

According to Revenue Department investigators, Alexander routinely collected sales tax from customers doing business with Alexander. Under state law, sales tax becomes the property of the state at the moment of collection. Investigation showed that Alexander's business actually was selling more automobiles than were reported on the tax returns filed by Alexander's business. In 30 of 43 tax periods reviewed by Department investigators, Alexander's tax returns reported smaller taxable sales than actually occurred, investigators charged. Investigators alleged that Alexander had collected $88,047.34 more in tax from customers than he sent to the state, and that he pocketed the extra money.

"To be fair, tax law must apply uniformly to all businesses," said Jim Zingale, executive director of the Revenue Department. "Tax cheats steal money that the public pays to support vital public services, such as law enforcement and education. They also steal a competitive advantage over honest businesspeople who pay their taxes. The Department of Revenue cannot and will not allow this to occur. "

If you know about tax theft or tax evasion, please call the Department of Revenue investigations office in Broward County at 954-346-2850. You also may wish to visit the Department Internet site at www.myflorida.com/dor for information about rewards for reporting tax law violations.