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Special Investigations News Release

For Immediate Release: Feb. 14, 2012

Warren County Businessman Charged With Sales Tax Evasion and Related Charges

Nashville, Tenn. - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment of Manual Z. Ochoa, age 41, owner of La Cazona Restaurant located in McMinnville, Tennessee, on charges of sales tax evasion and theft of property. Ochoa turned himself into the Warren County Sheriff's office on February 13, 2012.

On February 10, 2012, Manual Z. Ochoa was indicted by the Warren County Grand Jury on five Class E felony counts of sales tax evasion in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440(g) and two Class C felony counts of theft of property over $10,000 in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-14-103. The indictments charge Ochoa with willfully attempting to evade or defeat sales tax totaling $49,275.54 during the period December 2005 through February 2009.

"I believe that this investigation will serve as a reminder that retailers are not entitled to use or keep sales tax monies," said Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. "When sales tax revenues are collected by a retailer they are at all times property of the state or local government and must be remitted to the state. Consumers who pay the tax deserve to know that the money will be used by the state and local governments for the common good."

If convicted, Ochoa could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $3,000 for each count of attempted sales tax evasion and a maximum of six years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $10,000 for theft of property.

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 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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