Used Car Dealer Skimmed $185K In Sales Tax For Himself. He Gets 3 Years In Prison

A used car salesman’s plan to line his pockets with sales tax proceeds didn’t pay off, the state Attorney General’s Office said Friday.

James Colapinto, 54, of Freehold, was sentenced to three years in state prison Friday after pleading guilty to theft and failing to turn over collected taxes.

Colapinto ran Dancola Inc., a company in charge of two used car dealerships in Toms River. Between 2012 and 2015, he admitted in a guilty plea, he failed to turn over about $185,000 in sales tax by underreporting the amount he had collected.

As part of his plea, Colapinto must pay back $200,000, which includes the original amount and $15,000 in interest and fines. At sentencing Friday, Colapinto paid $49,000.

He was also sentenced concurrently to three years in a separate Ocean County case. Colapinto pleaded guilty to defrauding a lender that loaned him money for his car dealerships.

“Colapinto repeatedly lied about how much sales tax he collected at his car dealerships,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in the news release. “This sentence sends a message that we will aggressively prosecute business owners who defraud the State of New Jersey by misrepresenting their tax obligations.”

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