Whittington Brothers Charged in Tax Evasion, Drug-Smuggling Case

Bill and Don Whittington, veteran race drivers, have been charged with tax evasion on profits they reportedly earned in a multimillion dollar drug-smuggling ring.

An 18-month investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and state and federal law enforcement agencies also resulted in charges against Gary R. Levitz, 47, son of the founder of the Levitz furniture chain, according to documents filed in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Tuesday by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lurana S. Snow.

Bill Whittington, 37, is charged with fraud and income tax evasion and one count of conspiracy to smuggle "multi-ton quantities of marijuana" into the United States. Don Whittington, 40, and Levitz are accused of filing false income tax returns for 1979.

The brothers have competed in five Indy 500 races, the 12 Hours of Sebring, three of the four Miami Grand Prix events and numerous auto endurance races, plus stock car events and air races. Bill Whittington is a three-time co-winner of The Times Enduro, having teamed with Don for the 1979 victory, with Ted Field in 1982, and with Randy Lanier in '84.

Federal charges say that a $203,000 race car was financed with profits from the drug ring, and its purchase was concealed from the IRS.

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