Missouri Business Owner Sentenced on Hindering Enforcement of Tax Laws

Sunday, June 12, 2011 | 07:27 pm
Nashville, Tenn.The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to yesterday’s guilty plea by Larry Burt Thornton, age 59. Thornton, who is the President of W-S Window & Door Company, Inc., located in St. Louis, Missouri, was investigated for making sales to Tennessee residents, collecting the tax and failing to remit it to the state. 
Thornton pled guilty to 1 count of Hindering Enforcement of Tax Laws in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440(d), a Class E felony. Thornton was granted judicial diversion and was sentenced to two years with the time suspended to two years probation. As part of the sentencing agreement, the judge ordered Thornton to make immediate restitution of $37,831.01 of the tax collected from Tennessee customers which he had failed to remit. 
“When sales tax is collected from the public and not remitted, it is a breach of the public trust and a crime,” said Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. “The Department of Revenue aggressively pursues criminal sanctions and demands accountability for such actions.”
Prosecution of this criminal case was pursued by the department in cooperation with District Attorney General Victor Johnson’s office. 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 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, the Department of Revenue collects taxes for local, county and municipal governments. During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, local government collections by the Department of Revenue exceeded $1.9 billion. 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.