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Special Investigations News Release

For Immediate Release: Feb. 3, 2012

Blount County Tennessee Resident Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee Department of Revenue's Special Investigations Section conducted the investigation that led to the February 2, 2012, best interest guilty plea of Mark Peter Sawyer, age 56, of Louisville, Tennessee. Sawyer pled guilty to one count of tax evasion. Judge Steve Dozier granted Sawyer's request for judicial diversion and placed him on supervised probation for two years. Sawyer was ordered to pay restitution to the Tennessee Department of Revenue in the amount of $4,805.00.

On September 16, 2011, Sawyer was indicted by a Davidson County Grand Jury on one Class E felony count of Tax Evasion in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440. The indictment charged that Sawyer attempted to evade tax due the State of Tennessee on behalf of Santa Verde, Inc., by purchasing a 35 ft. Sea Ray Cabin boat for $67,500 and not paying $4,805.00 in tax due.

"The Department of Revenue promotes voluntary taxpayer compliance by educating taxpayers, aggressively pursuing criminal sanctions and demanding accountability when taxpayers engage in fraudulent activity," said Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts.

Prosecution of this criminal case was pursued by the department in cooperation with District Attorney General Victor S. Johnson, III's office. Commissioner Roberts expressed his appreciation for the excellent cooperation the department has enjoyed with General Johnson. 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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