For Immediate Release: Aug. 10, 2012
Putnam County Market Owners 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 today's arrest of two Putnam County market owners on charges of sales tax evasion and theft. Punit Rajendra "Nick" Patel, age 25, Corporate Officer of Yogeshwari, Inc., d/b/a PFS Market located in Baxter, Tennessee, was arrested on August 9th at his home by Special Agents of the Tennessee Department of Revenue. Nainesh C. Patel, age 45, President of HAS, Inc., d/b/a Discount Tobacco & Beer Mart located in Cookeville, Tennessee, was also arrested on August 9th at the business by Putnam County Sheriff's officers.
On August 6, 2012, both men were indicted by the Putnam County Grand Jury on multiple Class E felony counts of sales tax evasion in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440(g) and one Class C felony count of Theft of Property over $10,000 in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-14-103. The indictments charge Punit Patel with willfully attempting to evade or defeat sales tax totaling $26,692.34 during the period Jun. 2007 through Dec. 2008 and Nainesh Patel with willfully attempting to evade or defeat sales tax totaling $24,648.28 during the period of February 2006 through September 2007.
"I believe these investigations 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, the men 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.
This case was pursued criminally by the department in cooperation with District Attorney General Randy York'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, 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.