Davidson County Businessmen Plead Guilty to Sales Tax Evasion and Theft ChargesThursday, March 11, 2010 | 03:13 pm
NASHVILLE -The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to today’s guilty plea of Guirguis K. Awad and his brother-in-law, Essam H. Eshak, on charges of sales tax evasion and theft. Awad and Eshak pleaded guilty to four counts of Conspiring to Evade Sales Tax in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440(e), Class E felonies. Awad also pleaded guilty to one count of Theft of Property Over $60,000 in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-14-103, a Class B felony.
Indictments issued by a Davidson County Grand Jury on Dec. 3, 2009, charge that Awad and Eshak failed to remit $92,011.97of sales tax due the state of Tennessee by intentionally filing false and fraudulent sales tax returns from Jan. 2004 through June 2007 on behalf of Ragig Tobacco Store located at 4111C Hillsboro Pike in Nashville.
Awad was sentenced to eight years in the state penitentiary. The sentence was suspended and Awad was placed on supervised probation. Eshak was sentenced to four years in the state penitentiary. This sentence was also suspended and Eshak was placed on supervised probation. The plea agreement requires Awad and Eshak to make full restitution to the state.
“The Department of Revenue promotes voluntary taxpayer compliance by educating taxpayers, aggressively pursuing criminal sanctions and demanding accountability when taxpayers engage in fraudulent activity," said Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr. "This investigation underscores our department's ongoing efforts to enforce Tennessee's tax laws."
This case was pursued criminally by the department in cooperation with Davidson County District Attorney General Victor S. (Torry) Johnson. Citizens who suspect violations of Tennessee’s 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.
Related news: Dec. 7, 2009 – Davidson County Businessmen Charged with Conspiracy to Evade Sales Tax and Theft (http://news.tennesseeanytime.org/node/4168)