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Montrose man charged with multiple tax crimes

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ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Revenue announced that the Wright County Attorney’s Office recently charged Ryan Thomas Lazenby, of Montrose, with four felony counts of failing to file sales and use tax returns and four felony counts of failing to pay sales and use tax.  

According to the complaint, Mr. Lazenby owned and operated Fast Lane Auto, LLC, doing business as Valvoline Express Care, in Delano, MN. For multiple periods between September 2014 and June 2018, Mr. Lazenby allegedly failed to file sales and use tax returns or pay sales and use tax on behalf of his business. The complaint states that during an interview with department investigators, Mr. Lazenby admitted that he had been collecting sales tax from his customers, but had not submitted those payments to the state. According to the complaint, Mr. Lazenby failed to pay over $45,000 in sales tax which he collected from his customers.

Each tax-related felony charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Although most taxpayers comply with tax laws voluntarily, the department takes enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers to ensure that tax laws are administered fairly.

Many of the department’s criminal case referrals come from public tips. There is a 24-hour tip line for anyone who suspects that a person or business is violating Minnesota tax laws. Local callers may dial 651-297-5195 or call toll-free by dialing 1-800-657-3500. Tips can also be submitted to the department by email at tax.fraud@state.mn.us. Tipsters may choose to remain anonymous. 

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Ryan Brown
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