Former Memphis Business Owner Arrested On Sales Tax Evasion Charges
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Today John C. Littles, former owner of Potpourri Furniture Liquidators located at 3933 Park Ave. in Memphis, was arrested by deputies of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on charges of state sales tax evasion and theft of property. The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and subsequent arrest of Littles, age 36.
On Dec. 12, 2006, Littles was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury on three Class E Felony counts of sales tax evasion and one Class B Felony count of theft over $60,000. The Class E Felony counts relate to filing false sales tax returns, failing to remit the sales tax and obstructing a revenue officer.
“The majority of businesses pay appropriate taxes,” said Revenue Commissioner Loren L. Chumley. “This case serves as a warning to others who think they can get away with tax fraud in Tennessee. We will continue to pursue criminal activity and prosecute tax evaders to maintain fairness in our tax structure for Tennesseans.”
Between April 1, 2000, and April 30, 2003, Littles is alleged to have collected $70,774.24 of sales tax from the customers of his business that he failed to remit to the state. If convicted, Littles could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined $3,000 for each Class E felony count and a maximum of 12 years in the state penitentiary and fined $25,000 for the Class B Felony count. Additionally, civil taxes, penalties, and interest will be due the state.
This case was pursued criminally by the department in cooperation with the Fraud and Economic Crime Unit of the Shelby County District Attorney General’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 92 percent of total state tax revenue. During the 2005-2006 fiscal year, the department collected $10.3 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, $1.8 billion of local sales tax was collected by the department for local governments during the 2005-2006 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.Tennessee.gov/revenue.