Former used car dealer charged in fraud case

LOS ANGELES - The former owner of a used car dealership has been charged with grand theft and other counts for allegedly underreporting more than a million in sales tax, the district attorney's office announced last Friday.Deputy District Attorney James Belna of the Major Fraud Division said Dagoberto Duenas, 56, of Rosemead was charged with one count of grand theft money with excessive-taking allegations. Duenas was also charged with three counts of filing a false tax return. The defendant pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing last week at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Co-defendant Mario Ernesto Gonzalez, 50, of Los Angeles also entered a not guilty plea at arraignment. The defendants' next court date is June 13 for a preliminary hearing. Both men surrendered to authorities on a felony complaint for arrest warrant filed on May 7. Gonzalez, a business associate, is charged with one count each of grand theft of personal property and filing a false tax return. The charges include allegations of excessive taking. Duenas is accused of unlawfully taking $1.043 million from the State of California. Gonzalez allegedly took $494,796 from the state. The alleged criminal conduct took place between January 2007 and December 2009, according to the criminal complaint. Until 2009, Duenas was the owner and operator of Space Auto, later renamed Spin Auto Sales, in Los Angeles. Duenas was released on $500,000 bond while co-defendant Gonzalez was released on his own recognizance. If convicted as charged, Duenas faces a maximum possible term of 11 years, four months in prison. Gonzalez could be sentenced to a maximum state prison term of six years.

********** Published: May 17, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 05