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Special Investigations News Release

For Immediate Release:  March 26, 2014

Former Greeneville Business Owner Arrested on Sales Tax Evasion Charges

Greeneville, Tenn. - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest of Jerry Reginald Burkes, 48, of Greeneville. Burkes was arrested today by deputies of the Greene County Sheriff's Department at his residence. Bond was set at $75,000.

Monday, the Greene County Grand Jury indicted Burkes on 12 Class E felony counts of sales tax evasion, 11 Class B felony counts of money laundering, one Class B felony count of forgery and one Class B felony count of theft of property valued over $60,000. The indictments charge that Burkes, former owner of Preeminent Skate Specialty, willfully filed false state sales tax returns from January through December 2011.

"The majority of businesses pay appropriate taxes," Revenue Commissioner Richard Roberts said. "I hope this case will serve as a warning to others who think they can get away with tax fraud in Tennessee. We will continue to pursue criminal activity and prosecute tax evaders to assure fairness in our tax structure for Tennesseans."

If convicted, Burkes 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 up to a maximum of 12 years and fined $25,000 for each of the other counts.

Prosecution of this criminal case was pursued by the Department in cooperation with District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell'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 and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2013 fiscal year, the Department collected $11.7 billion in state taxes and fees and over $2.2 billion in taxes and fees for local governments. To learn more about the Department, log on to www.TN.gov/revenue.

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