Attempt to ‘escape’ taxes will be processed in court along with alleged fraud
By Lynda Jensen
The court date, set previously for July 29 for Bert Hertzog, 55, of Winsted was moved to this week, Tuesday, Aug. 5.
This means that two sets of unrelated charges will be processed in court on the same day; charges pertaining to failure to pay sales tax in relation to the ownership of a red 2007 Mercedes SL600, as well as fraud charges that stem from posing as a licensed commercial vehicle inspector last year.
Court documents offered more detail to the Mercedes incident, which was initially detected when police spotted the expensive vehicle parked at the Howard Lake Municipal Liquor Store lot April 20.
Police initially thought the car was stolen because the plates came back as belonging to a black 2000 Lincoln Continental, and the vehicle identification number was not on file. In addition, the doors were unlocked and the alarm was not set on it.
At first, Hertzog told officers that someone was coming to pick up the vehicle and tow it away, in order to buy it. He also said that the vehicle had been towed to the parking lot from Winsted. However, a Howard Lake police officer had spotted the Mercedes being driven that afternoon along County Road 6.
Hertzog told officers that he liked to remove license plates when he washed his vehicles, but the arresting officer Wright Co. Deputy A. Lutgens, countered this in his report.
“During my investigation of the vehicle, I removed the rear plate and noticed that there was a large amount of dust and scratch marks from an outline of the plate as if the plate had been there for quite some time” Lutgens reported.
“To remove the plate, I had to take off four chrome caps and a license plate cover, and then unscrew four flat-head screws,” Lutgens noted. It did not appear that the plate had been off the car for a wash any-time recently.”
Lutgens called Sears Import Autos of Wayzata, asking about the car. He was told by General Manager Mike Roeder that Hertzog had ordered the vehicle from Germany in June of 2006. Hertzog had gone to Europe to pick up the vehicle and had it shipped back to the United States.
Roeder reported many attempts to contact Hertzog about paying registration tax and having the car licensed, but this was unsuccessful.
The sheriff’s office had Hertzog’s Mercedes towed to his home.
Hertzog was charged with two counts one gross misdemeanor intent to “escape taxation” and a misdemeanor vehicle registration infraction related to the Mercedes.
Other unrelated charges are pending of Hertzog allegedly issuing fake inspection stickers to commercial vehicles even though he wasn’t licensed to do so.
Hertzog is charged in Wright County with theft-by-swindle (a felony), aggravated forgery, (a felony) and inspecting vehicles without certification.