Shelby County Man Pleads Guilty to Theft and Sales Tax EvasionMonday, December 21, 2009 | 09:00 am
MEMPHIS - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the guilty plea of Wendell Price, age 41, former owner of Wendell’s World Beat Grill, Memphis, Tenn.
On Dec. 16, 2009, Price pleaded guilty to one Class C Felony count of Theft of Property over $10,000 in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-14-103 and four Class E Felony counts of Sales Tax Evasion in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440. Price is scheduled to appear before the Honorable Judge John Fowlkes, Criminal Court of Shelby County, Division 6, on Jan. 12, 2010, for the sentencing.
On March 31, 2009, a Shelby County Grand Jury returned a 14-count indictment charging Price filed false and fraudulent sales tax returns with the Tennessee Department of Revenue with the intent to defraud the State of Tennessee.
“The majority of businesses pay appropriate taxes,” said Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr. “This case serves as a warning to others who think they can get away with tax fraud in Tennessee. We will continue to pursue criminal activity and prosecute tax evaders to maintain fairness in our tax structure for Tennesseans.”
This case was pursued criminally by the department in cooperation with District Attorney General William L. Gibbon’s office. Citizens who suspect violations of the Tennessee revenue laws should call the toll-free tax fraud hot line at (800) FRAUDTX (372-8389).
The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 92 percent of total state tax revenue. During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the department collected $10.2 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, $1.9 billion of local sales tax was collected by the department for local governments during the 2008-2009 fiscal year.Besides collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the department, log on to www.TN.gov/revenue.