RV Dealers Charged with Felony Sales Tax Theft
SEATTLE, Nov. 10, 2010 – An Auburn couple operating a Kent recreational vehicle dealership was charged today with felony theft of more than $130,000 in sales taxes they collected on vehicle sales before the business closed in 2009.
Daniel G. Watts, 54, and Donna Watts, 52, owners of Watts Enterprises, Inc., were charged in King County Superior Court by the Financial Crimes Unit of the state Attorney General’s Office at the request of the Washington State Department of Revenue.
The maximum penalty for first degree theft is 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. The state charged that their crime was aggravated because it was a major economic offense and the defendants used a position of trust, confidence and fiduciary responsibility to facilitate the commission of the crime.
According to the charging papers, the Department audited the business after it failed to remit collected sales tax during two of the last three months it was in business, in March and May 2009.
An attorney for the couple acknowledged that the Watts were obligated by law to remit the tax they collected from customers, but he counseled them to oppose paying any additional penalties and interest, the charging papers state. No payments were ever made.
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