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San Diego Used Auto Dealer Arrested on Additional State Income Tax Charges

Released: June 3, 2009

Sacramento –A San Diego used automobile dealer was arrested today on one felony count of state income tax evasion and two felony counts of state income tax fraud, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) said.

Yousef Hoodneh, 60, was arrested at his home by investigators from the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office as they and FTB special agents served search warrants on Hoodneh’s home. Hoodneh is a corporate officer of Flamingo Motors, Inc. He is also the alleged corporate officer of Flamingo Car Group, Inc. and Flamingo Automotive, Inc. He allegedly placed ownership of these two businesses in the names of relatives.

According to FTB agents, Hoodneh allegedly filed fraudulent 2003 and 2004 corporate income tax returns by understating Flamingo Motor’s income by nearly $6.5 million and failed to file the corporation’s 2005 return claiming more than $74,000 income. Hoodneh’s businesses owe the state more than $1.5 million in unpaid tax. Interest, penalties and the cost of the investigation will be added to this figure.

Each tax count carries a maximum term of three years in state prison. Additional tax charges may be filed based upon evidence seized during the search warrant.

The failure to file tax returns is part of the $6.5 billion tax gap California faces each year. The tax gap is defined as the difference between the tax that is owed and the tax that is paid.

Flamingo Car Group, Inc. is number 14 on the Board of Equalization’s (BOE) list of Largest Sales and Use Tax Delinquencies. In a pending case, Hoodneh has a jury trial set for July 20 on seven additional felony charges of filing fraudulent state sales tax returns and two counts of aiding in the filing of false state sales tax returns.

Hoodneh was booked into the San Diego Central Jail and his bail is set at $1.5 million.His arraignment is expected Thursday, June 4 at 1:30 pm in San Diego County Superior Court, Downtown.

This is a joint investigation between the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the BOE, and FTB.