Former Memphis Business Owner Sentenced on Sales Tax Evasion and Theft ChargesMonday, March 08, 2010 | 10:01 am
MEMPHIS - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the March 5 guilty plea and sentencing of Wassim Ajjaoui, former owner of the Smoker’s Shop, on six counts of Sales Tax Evasion (Class E felonies) and one count of Theft of Property (a Class C felony).
Judge W. Mark Ward sentenced Ajjaoui (age 38) to three years in the state penitentiary. After Ajjaoui made full restitution to the Department of Revenue in the amount of $46,168, Judge Ward suspended Ajjaoui’s sentence and he was granted diversion and placed on probation. The probation agreement requires Ajjaoui to provide yearly personal and corporate tax returns to the probation officer, file any state tax returns due the State of Tennessee, accurately report information required by the Tennessee Department of Revenue relating to any state and local taxes, and timely pay all sales or other taxes collected by him or his employees to the State of Tennessee or Shelby County.
“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.