Toms River Used Car Dealer Sentenced For Tax Fraud

James Colapinto (Photo courtesy State Attorney Generals Office)

TRENTON – A used car dealer who operated in Toms River was sentenced to three years in state prison for collecting sales tax but not paying the state.

Ocean County Superior Court Judge Michael T. Collins sentenced James J. Colapinto, 54, of Freehold, to state prison today, according to Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal’s office.

Colapinto was found to have collected $185,000 in sales tax from customers from 2012-2015, but deliberately underreported what he collected. He owned two dealerships in Toms River under the name Dancola, Inc.

He pleaded guilty on Aug. 24 this year to second-degree counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of property received and failure to turn over collected tax. He must pay the Division of Taxation $200,000 in restitution, penalties and interest.

The state caught on to him when Dancola was audited, finding discrepancies in sales tax reporting and payments.

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Grewal’s office also said Colapinto was sentenced today in connection with a separate criminal case brought by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office in which Colapinto pleaded guilty to defrauding a commercial lender that loaned him money for his car dealerships. He pleaded guilty to this in August as well, and will serve three years concurrently with the sentence in his tax case.

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

Colapinto was represented by attorney Andrew Butchko, Esq., of Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., in Somers Point.