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Special Investigations News Release

For Immediate Release: Dec. 5, 2012

Davidson County Tax Preparer Arrested for Sales Tax Evasion and Theft

Nashville, Tenn. - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the December 3, 2012, arrest of Charles A. Bright, Sr., on charges of sales tax evasion, theft, and impersonation of a licensed professional. Bright, age 54, was arrested at his home by Special Agents of the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

On November 29, 2012, Charles A. Bright, Sr. was indicted by a Davidson County Grand Jury on 38 Class E felony counts of sales tax evasion in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440(d), one Class B felony count of Theft of Property over $60,000 in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-14-103, and one Class E felony count of Impersonation of a Licensed Professional in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-16-302. The indictments charge that Charles A. Bright, Sr., in addition to falsely holding himself out as a CPA, took sales tax money from his client and intentionally withheld that money from the state without his client's knowledge.

Specifically, his client provided business records to Bright with checks deposited by Bright into bank accounts under Bright's control. Instead of remitting the tax payments to the Department of Revenue, the indictments charge that Bright prepared false tax returns showing less tax due, filed the false returns with the Department of Revenue, and retained the remaining tax revenue due the state of Tennessee.

"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 will aggressively pursue criminal sanctions and demands accountability for such actions, especially if a tax return preparer victimizes honest business owners. Taxpayers should be careful if their preparer requests tax payments be made directly to them instead of the Department of Revenue."

If convicted, Bright could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $3,000 for each count of sales tax evasion and Impersonation of a Licensed Professional and a maximum of twelve years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $25,000 for theft of property.

Commissioner Roberts expressed his appreciation for the excellent cooperation the department has enjoyed with District Attorney General Victor S. (Torry) Johnson and his staff. 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, over $2.0 billion of local sales and business taxes were collected by the department for local governments during the 2012 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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