Former South Florida towing company owner accused of a $130,000 tax evasion

·2 min read

Federal prosecutors accuse Boca Raton resident Craig Goldstein of boosting income from West Way Towing via various illegal shenanigans, but they’re charging Goldstein for not giving the government its cut if the ill-gotten cash.

Goldstein was charged by information Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale federal court with three counts of tax evasion, one count for each calendar year 2014, 2015 and 2016. He’s accused of underpaying taxes by $132,199.

No response from Goldstein nor who his attorneys are have been listed on the docket.

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Extra income from West Way Towing?

State documents say West Way, now in Lauderdale Lakes, has been registered with the state since 1989 and Goldstein ran it from at least 1995 through sometime between the 2017 and 2018 annual reports to the state.

From 2013 through 2017, the charging documents claim, Goldstein got cash from attorneys or people representing attorneys and chiropractors for referrals of accident victims whose vehicles West Way had towed. This allowed attorneys and chiropractors to illegally charge up to $10,000 limit of the Florida Personal Injury Protection Program.

During the same period, prosecutors say, car owners towed by West Way would be required to pay the lien fees in cash to get their car back, as is common for tow companies. The cash and a lien ticket would go in a safe. But Goldstein, they said, would take out some of the cash and not enter the money in West Way’s books or Tracker system.

Also, prosecutors say, from 2015 through 2017, West Way sold vehicles after owners abandoned them at the West Way tow yard, another common practice by tow companies.

“If the vehicle had a high value, [Goldstein] would sell the vehicle for a price which far exceeded the outstanding lien fees,” the charging documents said. “[Goldstein] would corruptly instruct an employee of West Way to record the sales price as equal to the outstanding towing, storage and administrative fees due the vehicle, thereby falsely reflecting zero profit.”