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Orange County Auto Fleet Salesman Pleads Guilty to State Income Tax Evasion

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Public Affairs Office
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For Immediate Release

02.03.2012

Sacramento —An auto fleet salesman, who worked for several Orange County auto dealerships, pleaded guilty today to one count of state income tax evasion, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced.

Paul R. Whitehead, 52, with a last known address in Irvine, worked as a fleet auto salesman from 2004 – 2007 and 2009. FTB’s investigation revealed Whitehead failed to file state income tax returns for these years and report the more than $1.4 million he earned.

Whitehead was ordered to pay restitution to the state of more than $173,000 representing the unpaid tax, penalties, interest, and the cost of the investigation. He must pay $50,000 within 30 days and the balance within five years or face up to three years in state prison. Interest continues to accrue on this outstanding balance.

FTB sends notices each year to individuals who may have a California filing requirement. In early January, FTB announced it is contacting more than 900,000 people who did not file a 2010 state income tax return. FTB finds nonfilers by using more than 400 million income records it receives each year from third parties such as the IRS, banks, employers, state departments, and other sources. In addition, FTB uses occupational licenses and mortgage interest payment information to detect others who may also have a requirement to file a state tax return. FTB then contacts those who earned California income, but did not file a return for the 2010 filing year.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Gerald G. Johnston accepted the plea in Department C57 of the Santa Ana Courthouse. Orange County District Attorney Megan Wagner prosecuted the case.

FTB’s criminal investigation program identifies and investigates cases of tax evasion and tax fraud to encourage compliance with California income tax laws and maintain the public trust.

The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit: taxes.ca.gov.

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