Memphis Business Owner Arrested on Sales Tax Fraud and Theft Charges

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 | 02:59 pm
Tsehay Woldemariam
Tsehay Woldemariam

Memphis, Tenn. – The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and subsequent arrest of Tsehay Woldemariam, age 30, of Memphis, Tennessee. On Aug. 15, 2011, Woldemariam, owner of Sheger Market located at 3007 Johnson Ave. in Memphis, Tenn., was arrested by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department. Bond was set at $20,000.00.

On July 14, 2011, Woldemariam was indicted by a Shelby County Grand Jury on twenty two counts of Sales Tax Fraud in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440, a Class E felony, and one count of Theft of Property Over $1,000 in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-14-103, a Class D felony.  If  convicted, Woldemariam could be sentenced up to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined $3,000 for each of the sales tax evasion charges and a maximum of four years in the state penitentiary and fined $5,000 on the theft of property charge.

“Tennessee’s tax structure depends on taxpayers voluntarily complying with the laws,” said Revenue
Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. “Taxpayers who collect but intentionally do not remit sales tax,
breach the public’s trust and violate the criminal laws of the State. This case underscores our
commitment to rigorous and fair administration of Tennessee’s tax laws.”

Prosecution of this criminal case was pursued by the department in cooperation with District Attorney General Amy P. Weirich. Commissioner Roberts expressed his appreciation for the excellent cooperation the department has enjoyed with General Weirich. Citizens who suspect violations of Tennessee’s revenue laws should call the toll-free tax fraud hot line at (800) FRAUDTX (372-8389).  In addition to collecting state taxes, $2.0 billion of local sales and business taxes were collected by the department for local governments during the 2010-2011 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.

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