Car dealership business sentenced for tax theft and filing fraudulent return

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Dec. 2, 2021 – The owner of a used car dealership was sentenced to four months of electronic home monitoring and ordered to pay a total of $113,594 to the state for stealing sales tax and filing a fraudulent tax return.

Charles Stephen Lucash, owner of Lucash Motors, pleaded guilty Sept. 27 in King County Superior Court to theft in the first degree and filing a false or fraudulent tax return, both felony charges. He was sentenced Nov. 19.

Lucash ran a used car dealership with lots in Auburn, Enumclaw, and Edgewood, Wash. A Revenue audit of the business showed Lucash had underreported more than $600,000 in sales tax between 2014 and 2018. Further investigation of financial records indicated Lucash had directed his bookkeeper to reduce sales numbers reported to the state and supplied another bookkeeper with numbers to use when preparing tax returns.

Although Lucash blamed software problems for the underreporting of sales, evidence shows he had command and control of tax returns and used the dealership’s software to minimize the number of closed sales. Lucash continued to pocket sales tax until the dealership was closed in July 2018.

Revenue turned the case over to the state Attorney General’s office, who further investigated and prosecuted the case on behalf of Revenue.

Collecting but not remitting sales tax is illegal under Washington state law. Businesses that sell retail goods and services in Washington are required to collect sales tax from customers and return it to the state.

Retail sales tax is the largest source of state revenue and funds vital services that benefit Washington’s residents and economy.

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The Department of Revenue is Washington state’s primary tax agency, nationally recognized for innovation and quality customer service. Revenue administers nearly 60 categories of taxes that help fund education, social services, health care, corrections, public safety, natural resource conservation and other important services Washington residents count on.