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Special Investigations News Release

For Immediate Release: July 5, 2012

Cocke County Man Arrested on Sales Tax Evasion Charges

Newport, Tenn. - Vijay Bhikhabhai Patel, Presiden of Hariswami, Inc., d/b/a Amoco BP Express was arrested by deputies of the Cocke County Sheriff's Department at his business on July 4. The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest of Mr. Patel, age 35, of Newport, Tenn. Bond was set at $50,000.

On July 3, 2012, the Cocke County Grand Jury returned a 10 count indictment for Sales Tax Evasion in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440(g), a Class E felony. The indictment charges that Mr. Patel willfully attempted to evade sales tax due the State by causing the filing of false and fraudulent sales tax returns for Broadway Amoco BP, located at 1274 West Highway 25/70, Newport, Tenn., for the period November 2009 through August 2010, resulting in underreported sales tax totaling $39,132.63.

"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, Mr. Patel could be sentenced up to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined $3,000 for each of the tax evasion counts.

Prosecution of this criminal case was pursued by the department in cooperation with District Attorney General James Dunn'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).

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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