An Elizabethtown auto dealer convicted of fraudulently filing a personal income tax return said he had no intent to defraud the state.
Mena Samir Dous, 23, told the Advocate on Monday, May 14, that he had reported the income in question on his federal tax return, but his accountant neglected to include it on his state tax return.
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue announced Dous’ conviction on Thursday, May 10.
Dous was criminally charged in April 2017 after investigators determined he failed to report the income from the sales of 21 vehicles in tax year 2015.
“It was just a simple mistake,” Dous told the Advocate after being invited to give his side of the story.
Dous said he could not go into details because he is appealing his conviction, but emphasized that the failure to report income was not deliberate as prosecutors had alleged.
“It really wasn’t willful at all,” Dous said.
Dous was sentenced to two years of probation after being convicted May 3 of the misdemeanor of personal income tax violation fraud. He was also convicted of two counts each of the summary offenses of being unlicensed dealer, salesperson, etc.; false, deceptive advertising of vehicles and engage in unprofessional conduct/incompetency.
Dous was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine on each summary offense and file an amended tax return within 30 days, according to the Department of Revenue.
The Department of Revenue’s news release said investigators found that Dous deceptively advertised used cars owned by a dealership on Craigslist and Facebook, and sold the vehicles from his home in Elizabethtown without the proper license to do so. They also alleged that Dous advertised the vehicles as private sales in violation of the law.
Dous was acquitted of two third-degree misdemeanor charges listed in court records available online as “Investigation/ Records,” court records show.
Dous was initially charged with more than 100 offenses; the overwhelming majority of them were dismissed before his trial, court records show. Dous told the Advocate that charging him with so many offenses was an attempt by prosecutors to force him to agree to a plea bargain.
The charges stemmed from a joint investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Department of Revenue’s Bureau of Criminal Tax Investigations; the case was prosecuted by the Lancaster County District Attorney’sOffice.