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Special Investigations News Release

For Immediate Release: Nov. 8, 2013

Two Rutherford County Business Owners Arrested For Sales Tax Evasion and Theft

Nashville, Tenn. - Department of Revenue Special Agents arrested two Rutherford County business owners on charges of sales tax evasion and theft Thursday.

The agents took Muuad Abdo Nasser, the owner of Tony's Market and Jimmy's Tobacco in La Vergne, Tenn., and Shirishkumar Hira, the managing member of Comfort Suites in Smyrna, Tenn., into custody.

The Special Investigations Section of the Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the arrests of Nasser, 35, and Hira, 37.

On November 5, the Rutherford County Grand Jury indicted Nasser on one Class E felony count of sales tax evasion and one Class C felony count of theft of property over $10,000. The indictments charge Nasser with willfully trying to evade sales tax totaling $47,966.58 from October 2011 through September 2012.

The Rutherford County Grand Jury also indicted Hira on one Class E felony count of sales tax evasion and one Class B felony count of theft of property over $60,000. The indictments charge Hira with failing to file sales tax returns from August 2009 through August 2012, and failing to pay $185,738.25 in tax revenue collected to the state.

"These cases underscore our commitment to rigorous and fair administration of Tennessee's tax laws," said Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts.

If convicted for sales tax evasion, a judge could sentence Nasser and Hira to each serve up to two years in the state penitentiary and fine each business owner up to $3,000 for his count of tax evasion. For theft of property, Nasser could face a maximum of six years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $10,000. Hira could face a maximum of 12 years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $25,000 for theft of property. Nasser's bond has been set at $20,000, while Hira's bond has been set at $50,000.

The Department of Revenue pursued both criminal cases in cooperation with District Attorney General William Whitesell'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 collects about 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2013 fiscal year, it collected $11.7 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $2.2 billion in taxes and fees for local governments. To learn more about the department, visit www.TN.gov/revenue.

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