The owner and operator of an auto sales business in Rome has been sentenced for sales tax fraud.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance says 61-year old Ricky Hoke, who was arraigned in Oneida County Court in January, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of criminal tax fraud.

Hoke was charged with underreporting sales taxes he collected from customers at his business, Hoke Auto Sales on Erie Boulevard West. from December 2010 through August 2015

He was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay over $70,000 in restitution to the state.

“When merchants collect tax on automobile sales from customers and fail to remit the tax, they’re stealing from the state and the local communities who depend on the sales tax revenue to fund critical public programs and services,” said Acting Tax Commissioner Nonie Manion. “We thank the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case.”