Case News Release
September 25, 2013: Jose Maria Delbosque, 37, of Odessa, was convicted of a second-degree felony motor fuel tax fraud offense. Delbosque was sentenced to serve 2 years in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and was ordered to pay $79,769 in restitution to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Delbosque’s case, filed as cause number CR39786, was prosecuted in Midland County.
Motor Fuels Tax Investigations
Motor fuel taxes are set by the Legislature and collected by the Comptroller of Public Accounts. Crimes and penalties related to the motor fuels tax are described in Tax Code Chapter 162, Subchapter E. These crimes range from misdemeanors to second-degree felonies, the punishment range for which is 2 to 20 years in prison.
- selling or delivering dyed diesel fuel (fuel which is untaxed because it is not intended for use on public highways) for the operation of a motor vehicle on a public highway (a third-degree felony);
- blending fuel to expand its volume and thus evade motor fuels taxes (a second-degree felony);
- failing to remit any motor fuel tax funds collected. (a second-degree felony);
- destroying required books and records (a third-degree felony); and
- making false entries in required books and records (a third-degree felony).
Other Consequences in Addition to Criminal Punishment
The Comptroller's office may cancel or refuse to issue or reissue a Chapter 162 license to any applicant who has violated or failed to comply with a provision of this chapter or a rule issued by the Comptroller (see Tax Code §162.005). In some cases, this can occur without prior notice (see Tax Code §162.006).
Motor Fuels Tax Prosecutions
Motor fuels offenses can be prosecuted in the county in which they occur or in Travis County (see Tax Code §162.407). Local prosecutors prosecute motor fuels misdemeanors in the county in which they occurred.
Motor Fuels Tax Crime: How It Hurts Texas
Motor fuels tax provides the fourth-largest source of state tax revenue. In fiscal 2012, Texas motor fuels tax collections totaled $3.1 billion. This revenue is then allocated to:
- public education