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Tow truck company’s former owner charged with tax evasion

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BOCA RATON — The former owner of a Lauderdale Lakes towing company took part in a kickback scheme by routing accident victims to lawyers and chiropractors for a fee that he later failed to report to the IRS, according to federal prosecutors.

Craig Goldstein, 60, of Boca Raton, who founded Westway Towing in 1989, was charged with three counts of tax evasion and is accused of cheating the federal government out of $130,000 in taxes.

Efforts to reach Goldstein’s attorney Wednesday were not successful.

Brett Holcombe, president of Westway, said Goldstein has not been involved with the company since the kickback scheme was exposed in 2017. Holcombe described Goldstein as a friend who admitted his mistakes and would be taking personal responsibility for them.

“He’s a great friend of mine,” said Holcombe. “He’s apparently made a mistake. He apologized to me. It didn’t in any way affect what we’ve done with Westway and our involvement in the community over more than 30 years.”

Craig Goldstein, former owner of Westway Towing in Lauderdale Lakes (Carline Jean, Sun Sentinel file)

Craig Goldstein, former owner of Westway Towing in Lauderdale Lakes (Carline Jean, Sun Sentinel file) (Carline Jean)

Westway has contracts with more than a dozen local governments in South Florida, towing vehicles from accident scenes and in cases where the vehicles’ drivers are being arrested. Holcombe said the company maintains a strong relationship with local police departments and participates in “Night Out Against Crime” events annually.

Prosecutors said Goldstein was paid in cash each time he referred a patient to attorneys or chiropractors in Filenger’s ring. He also failed to report cash he received from storage lien fees and vehicle auctions, prosecutors said.

The case will be handled in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

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Florida police officer injured in crash

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A Florida police officer was hospitalized Monday evening after a crash with two other vehicles, according to authorities.

At around 5:15 p.m., a crash involving an Ocala officer was reported outside of a residential area at the intersection of West Silver Springs Boulevard and Southwest 23rd Avenue, Ocala Police Department said.

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The officer was listed as a “trauma alert” but is expected to be okay, OPD said.

No other serious injuries were reported.

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Ocala police are investigating the crash.

Jpedersen@orlandosentinel.com

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Brr! Orlando wakes up to coldest temperatures of the year

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Orlando residents woke up to a chilly start Tuesday morning, with temperatures projected to stay cold today.

Temperatures before sunrise were 42 degrees in the City Beautiful, which should later see temperature highs increase to 64 as skies are forecast to remain sunny, according to Maureen McCann From Spectrum of the News 13 weather team.

Tuesday’s low will fall back down to 45 in the evening.

“Future cast has us with sunshine for our Tuesday and clear skies tonight, but tomorrow a southeasterly wind will start to develop during the afternoon, and that is going to promote some warmer temperatures,” McCann said.

Sunshine is forecast for the rest of the week, with chances of showers re-emerging into skies by Friday with a 30% chance of rain.

Jpedersen@orlandosentinel.com

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1 dead, 4 injured after man opens fire outside Chicagoan Bar in NW Miami-Dade

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NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – One person has died and four others were injured following a shooting outside a bar in Northwest Miami-Dade.

The shooting happened at the Chicagoan Bar, located at 10702 NW 7th Ave, at around midnight on Tuesday.

The deceased individual was reportedly drinking at the bar and refused to pay his bill.

Security eventually removed him from the bar.

He then drove away, returned to the bar, stopped in the middle of the street then began firing several rounds at the bar’s security, according to police.

Another security guard came from inside the bar and returned fire, killing the patron.

One of the security guards was shot and taken to a local hospital.

Three women were also caught in the crossfire — two of them were transported to the hospital while the third was treated on the scene after being grazed.

All victims taken to the hospital are in stable condition.

Several homicide detectives continue to investigate.

Those who frequent the area are advised to seek alternative routes until the scene has cleared.

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