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Texas tax-assessor faces criminal tax matters in a ironic twist

In an ironic turn of events, Texas Rangers engaged in an investigation of a McLennan County Tax Assessor-Collector. The county employee was accused of fraudulently avoiding sales tax payments. The investigation occurred due to the prompting of a McLennan County District Attorney, following allegations brought up in an audit. The tax assessor is now facing criminal tax matter proceedings, which could result in severe professional and legal consequences.

The investigation was born out of the discovery of some discrepancies in the county's Motor Vehicle Inventory Tax Fund (VIT). It was soon uncovered that the accused man neglected to pay $1,375 in sales tax for a pickup truck that he personally purchased.

Texas Rangers confiscated the contents of the man's office in a "lock down" in order to complete a very thorough investigation.

Reportedly, the assessor used interest from a vehicle inventory tax fund to purchase a 2010 GMC Sierra pickup truck on June 24, 2010. The vehicle was supposed to be used for work-related duties by his office. The cost of the pickup was $29,589.

Earlier this year, the 2010 truck was resold to the dealership for $22,000. The funds were correctly deposited back into the VIT account. However, on the same day, the tax assessor made a personal purchase, a newer truck from the same dealership, but listed the trade-in value and VIN number of the county-owned truck on the title application. As a result, he saved $1,375 in sales tax.

An auditor stated that the savings came as a direct result of falsely claiming the vehicle purchased with VIT interest "as a trade-in on his personal vehicle."

Because of the delicate nature of the criminal tax matters he faces, the assessor may benefit from the enlistment of qualified counsel.

Source: The KWTX, "Rangers Search Offices Of Tax Assessor Accused Of Falsifying Title Papers," Julie Hays and Josh Wucher, July 20, 2011

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