Sun City auto dealer indicted on tax evasion charges

William Grewell (MCSO)

A Sun City auto dealer was indicted on charges related to tax evasion after he allegedly avoided paying more than $280,000 in sales taxes.

According to a release from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, a state grand jury indicted William Grewell, 58, of Peoria, with fraudulent schemes and artifices, failure to pay taxes, and five counts of filing a false tax return for allegedly failing to pay transaction privilege tax, also known as sales tax, on his dealership’s used car sales between 2014 and 2018.

The Arizona Curbstoning Enforcement Task Force (ACE-TF) conducted the investigation. The force is comprised of the Arizona Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General and the Arizona Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigations Unit, and worked with the AG’s Office.

Following a tip, task force detectives found multiple used cars for sale which appeared to be private sales. Each car displayed a “for sale” sign with a phone number.

Through a Craigslist database search, detectives learned the phone number was associated with about 432 other used car ads within the past year.

During an undercover operation, detectives found the cars were not individual sales but were marketed by a used car dealer, Desert Palms Wholesale, near 103rd and Grand avenues.

Mr. Grewell, the owner-operator of the dealership, is accused of selling the used cars to customers without remitting the tax due on those transactions.

For tax years 2014 through 2018, Mr. Grewell allegedly filed false tax returns understating his gross receipts and claiming he had no taxable sales.

According to investigators, between 2014 and 2018, Mr. Grewell had about $4,500,000 in gross sales and would have owed about $282,000 in taxes to the State of Arizona and Maricopa County.

Mr. Grewell was arrested March 27 at his home near 83rd Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road, according to county assessor records.

According to real estate company Trulia, the home was bought in 2003 for $555,000.

While it is off the market, Trulia estimates the value of the home in 2019 at $609,000. However, its Full Cash Value for Tax Year 2020 is $436,800, according to the County Assessor’s website.

Preliminary and arraignment hearings are scheduled Tuesday, April 16.

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