|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a used car dealer from Toms River pleaded guilty today to collecting $156,564 in state sales tax from customers that he purposely failed to turn over to the State of New Jersey.
Gennaro Dicecilia, 58, of Toms River, pleaded guilty to a second-degree charge of failure to turn over collected New Jersey sales tax before Superior Court Judge Timothy P. Lydon in Mercer County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Dicecilia be sentenced to three years in state prison. He will be required to pay restitution to the New Jersey Division of Taxation of $220,797, representing the sales tax he failed to remit, plus penalty and interest. Deputy Attorney General Peter Gallagher took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Dicecilia was charged in a Nov. 14, 2013 indictment that resulted from an investigation by the Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigations and the Division of Criminal Justice. Sentencing for Dicecilia is scheduled for Oct. 16.
In pleading guilty, Dicecilia the owner of Automotion LLC on Route 9 in Toms River, admitted that he collected $156,564 in sales tax from car buyers that he purposely failed to turn over to the State of New Jersey. In November 2011, the Division of Taxation was conducting a routine canvas of used car dealerships in Ocean County to identify dealerships that were not properly registered or licensed. During the canvas, it was determined that Dicecilia had failed to file any sales tax returns or remit any sales tax for Automotion since the dealership opened in 2007. The Division of Taxation demanded payment of the dealership’s outstanding sales tax, and Dicecilia subsequently filed sales tax returns. However, an audit by the Division of Taxation revealed that he deliberately hid information about the number of cars sold and the sales tax that he collected. Further investigation based on vehicle title transfer records kept by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission determined that Dicecilia had collected $205,157 in sales tax, while he remitted only $48,593 during the civil audit.
“Even after the Division of Taxation confronted him about his failure to turn over sales tax, Dicecilia tried to deceive the state about how much he had collected,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “We won’t tolerate dishonest merchants who defraud the State of New Jersey and its honest taxpayers.”
“Working with the Division of Taxation, we are aggressively targeting tax cheats,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Honest taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for unscrupulous business operators who evade their tax obligations.”
“This announcement exemplifies the investigative skills, attention to detail and persistence of Division of Taxation staff and our colleagues in the Attorney General’s Office,” said Acting State Treasurer Robert Romano. “The restitution of this sum to the Division is a win for the people of New Jersey.”
Auditor Kyle Mullane of the Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigations and Detective Kimberly Allen of the Division of Criminal Justice conducted the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Denise Grugan presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Deputy Attorney General Mark Kurzawa, Deputy Bureau Chief, prosecuted the case with Deputy Attorney General Gallagher.