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Cape Coral man accused of keeping collected sales tax

By Staff | Sep 23, 2010

A Cape Coral man is accused of stealing from the state more than $31,000 in sales tax that he collected from customers at his former car dealership.
Paperwork was filed Monday with the Lee County Clerk of Courts for the arrest of Kevin Paul Touhey, 44, of 1914 Cornwallis Parkway. Touhey was taken into custody Tuesday at the Lee County Jail, according to officials.
“He turned himself in,” John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, said Wednesday.
Touhey was charged with one felony count of theft of state funds. Officials with the Florida Department of Revenue reported that Touhey faces up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000 if he is convicted, along with possible repayment of stolen tax, interest, penalties and investigative costs.
“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,” Lisa Echeverri, executive director of the Department of Revenue, said in a prepared statement released Wednesday.
“Individuals who collect tax but don’t send it in are stealing taxpayer dollars and gaining an unfair financial advantage over honest businesses,” Echeverri said. “It’s our job to ensure that Florida’s tax laws are administered fairly.”
According to officials, Touhey is the former owner of Cape Coral Cars, a used car dealership once located at 1424 Viscaya Parkway. During various periods beginning in 2006 and lasting through 2009, Touhey collected tax from customers, but he failed to send all of the sales tax to the state.
“Under state law, sales tax is the property of the state at the moment of collection,” Renee Watters, a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, said in the statement.
Touhey has been released from the jail on $2,500 bond.
He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
An arraignment is scheduled for Monday at the Lee County Justice Center.