Former Shelby County Businessman Arrested on Sales Tax Evasion and Theft ChargesThursday, December 02, 2010 | 10:21 am
MEMPHIS- The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and subsequent arrest of Justin Foster (age 34) for sales tax evasion and theft. On Nov. 22, 2010, Foster, former owner of the Midtown Wine and Spirits located at 2541 Poplar Avenue in Memphis, Tenn., was arrested by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.
On Nov. 18, 2010, the Shelby County Grand Jury returned an indictment on Foster for one count of Sales Tax Evasion in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440, a class E felony, and for one count of Theft of Property over $60,000 in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-14-103, a class B felony. If convicted, Foster could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined $3,000 for the sales tax evasion charge and a maximum of twelve years and fined $25,000 for the theft charge. Additional civil taxes, penalties, and interest will be due the state once the criminal case is resolved.
“The Department of Revenue is committed to applying Tennessee’s tax laws and policies uniformly to all taxpayers to ensure a level playing field,” said Revenue Commissioner Charles Trost. “The department cannot and will not allow people engaged in fraudulent tax activities to have a competitive advantage over honest, law-abiding businesspeople.”
This case was pursued criminally by the department in cooperation with the District Attorney General William L. Gibbons’ office. Commissioner Trost expressed his appreciation for the excellent cooperation the department has enjoyed with General Gibbons. 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 91 percent of total state tax revenue. During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the department collected $10.1 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 2009-2010 fiscal year. In 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.