OLYMPIA – Nov. 21, 2013 – The owner of a King County landscaping business pleaded guilty to stealing $112,572 in sales tax she collected from customers from 2006 through 2011.
Laura Y. Villegas pleaded guilty Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in King County Superior Court to one charge of first-degree theft and was sentenced to 90 days of electronic home monitoring. The court also ordered Villegas to pay $112,572 in restitution to the Washington State Department of Revenue (Revenue).
The Washington State Attorney General’s office filed the felony theft charges in May against Villegas, owner of Excell Landscapes and Excell Landscape, Inc., on behalf of Revenue.
Villegas, 51, first operated Excell Landscapes as a sole proprietorship until she closed it and reopened the business as Excell Landscape, Inc., a corporation. The sole proprietorship filed no tax returns, and the corporation reported only about half of its total income.
An audit determined at least $112,572 in retail sales tax was collected and not remitted to the state. Further inquiry found that Villegas operated Kalos Landscaping from 2001 until 2006, when Revenue revoked its license for nonpayment of taxes.
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The Department of Revenue is Washington state’s primary tax administration agency and has been nationally recognized for innovation and service quality. Many of Washington’s programs and essential services are supported by Revenue’s tax collection efforts. In fiscal year 2013, Revenue collected more than $18 billion from nearly 60 different tax sources. These dollars support public schools, social services, health care, corrections, public safety and natural resources conservation.