Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa car dealer agrees to plea deal in tax refund scheme

TAMPA — Car dealer Russell Bruce Simmons Jr. drove a Bentley and amassed gold and gems.

He had a pendant that spelled out his initials in 703 diamonds, and a bracelet that glittered with 2,420 diamonds.

But he got rich at the expense of honest taxpayers, he admitted in a plea agreement filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Simmons, 42, helped bilk the government out of nearly $1.2 million in fraudulent tax refunds and tried to get millions more, the document states.

He also laundered the refunds of fellow identity thieves through Simmons Auto Sales Inc., the document states.

Simmons was arrested on a 32-count indictment in May that accused him of wire fraud, false claims against the government, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft.

He agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

If U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore accepts the plea deal, Simmons will then be sentenced. The identity theft charge carries a two-year mandatory sentence and wire fraud could carry up to 20 years.

Patty Ryan can be reached at or (813) 226-3382.

Tampa car dealer agrees to plea deal in tax refund scheme 11/06/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 10:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.