William K. Herring, 60, of Michelon Court was taken into custody Monday on five charges, including an allegation that he didn’t pay personal income tax on the ill-gotten gains, according to the state Department of Treasury.
Herring is free on bail. Reached at his home Wednesday, he said he had no comment.
Herring had worked for 13 years at J&C Auto Sales on West Landis Avenue at Mill Road.
John Schaser of Milmay, a co-owner of the dealership with his brother Charles, said he was glad to see the details publicized.
“Thirty-six years I’ve known the guy,” Schaser said. “He was a friend of mine.”
Schaser said the alleged betrayal shocked him. The defendant was his general manager and finance manager, and bought vehicles for the business, he said.
“It’s all about giving someone that much trust, unfortunately,” Schaser said. “It is sad that someone can do something like that to you.”
Authorities said the thefts, totaling $362,794.26, occurred from 2003 through 2009.
The arrest followed a multi-agency investigation that started in September 2009 when the Schasers took their findings and suspicions to Vineland police. The many angles of the alleged criminal activity brought in investigators from city, county and state government.
“My wife (Debbie) found it,” John Schaser said. “She found there was money missing. There was wrongdoing in the receipts.”
Debbie Schaser said Herring was fired in August 2009.
“I received some paperwork that didn’t make sense,” she said. “I started talking to customers.”
The Treasury Department lists the criminal counts against Herring as theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition, falsifying or tampering with documents, failure to pay taxes due and filing a fraudulent tax return.
Besides Vineland police and the Treasury Department, the case was investigated by the state Division of Taxation, Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
Treasury spokesman Bill Quinn said Herring did not report $229,305.26 of income derived from the alleged criminal activity. The total personal income tax due on that amount is $14,524.18 with a penalty of $1,452.42 and interest of $6,453.60, he said.
Vineland police took Herring to Cumberland County Jail on Monday. He was freed that night on $7,500 bail, according to Warden Robert Balicki.
According to the county Superior Court criminal case management office, Herring’s case is listed as pending grand jury action.