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Special Investigations News Release

For Immediate Release: Jun. 7, 2013

Knox County Business Owner Arrested on Sales Tax Evasion and Theft Charges

Knoxville, Tenn. - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and subsequent arrest of Tommy Joe Wykle, age 66, of Knoxville, TN. On June 6, 2013, Wykle was arrested by Special Agents of the Tennessee Department of Revenue at his business, Wykle Auto Sales, located at 1420 East Magnolia Avenue, Knoxville, TN. Bond was set at $5,000.

On June 4, 2013, the Knox County Grand Jury indicted Wykle on 21 Class E felony counts of sales tax evasion in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440(g) and one Class C felony of Theft in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-14-103.The indictments charge that Wykle willfully attempted to evade $29,560.63 in sales tax due the State of Tennessee during the period January 2009 through September 2010.

"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."

If convicted, Wykle could be sentenced up to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined $3,000 for each count of sales tax evasion and a maximum of six years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $10,000 for the 1 count of theft.

Prosecution of this criminal case was pursued by the department in cooperation with District Attorney General Randy Nichols' office. 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 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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