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Special Investigations News Release

For Immediate Release: Sept. 16, 2013

Former Smyrna Businessman Pleads Guilty to Sales Tax Evasion

Nashville, Tenn. - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the guilty plea of Amare A. Abreha, age 39, of Nashville, Tennessee.

On September 16, 2013, Judge M. Keith Siskins, Rutherford County Circuit Court, accepted Abreha's guilty plea to five (5) Class E felony counts of filing false sales tax returns. Abreha was sentenced to four (4) years supervised probation and ordered to pay $8,222.56 in restitution to the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

"This investigation serves as a reminder that retailers are not entitled to use or keep sales tax monies," said Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. "Sales tax revenues collected by retailers are never property of the retailer. At all times these sales tax collections are property of our state and local governments and must be remitted to the state as required by law. Consumers who pay the tax deserve to know that the money will be used by the state and local governments for the common good."

This case was pursued criminally by the department 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 established by the legislature 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 county and municipal governments. 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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