Wilson County Man, Montana LLC Manager Arrested on Charges for Tax Evasion
LEBANON - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest of Steven R. Griffith. Griffith, 48, turned himself in to Special Agents at the Wilson County Jail in Lebanon.
On November 13, 2017, a Wilson County Grand Jury indicted Griffith, on one Class E felony count of tax evasion, and one class C misdemeanor charge of failing to register a motor vehicle. Bond for Griffith was set at $2,500.
Tennessee law requires the payment of sales tax on vehicle purchases, unless the owner signs a sworn affidavit that he or she will remove the vehicle from the state within three days of purchase. It is alleged that Griffith used a Montana LLC to violate Tennessee law by registering vehicles in Montana which were in fact located in Tennessee.
“The Department of Revenue has always been committed to making sure Tennessee’s tax laws and procedures are applied uniformly to ensure fairness,” said Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano. “We can never allow individuals engaged in fraudulent tax activity to have a competitive advantage over honest individuals in our state.”
If convicted, Griffith could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $3,000 for the count of tax evasion. For failing to register a motor vehicle, he could be sentenced up to 30 days in prison and fined up to $50.00.
“We want Tennesseans to know that individuals cannot evade sales tax by falsifying registration documents and failing to register vehicles as the law requires,” Special Investigations Director Tommy Sneed said. “Tennessee citizens who engage in this type of activity will be held accountable.”
The Department pursued this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Tommy Thompson’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 2017 fiscal year, it collected $13.9 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $2.7 billion in taxes and fees for local governments. To learn more about the Department, visit www.tn.gov/revenue.